Stats Gate

Top 10 countries globally with best work-life balance in 2021

In Sweden, citizens work strictly 8 hours per day. At 5:00 pm most Swedes stop work to go home and take care of their family. If someone works overtime then this is usually not perceived positively but instead is a sign of poor planning. Sweden is the number one country in the world with the best work-life balance in 2021. Citizens in Sweden also take a five-week summer vacation.

Portugal comes second on the list. The Portuguese Parliament recently passed new laws, according to which employers will now face sanctions if they text message, phone or email their workers when they are off the clock. The most common working schedule in Portugal is between 9 am to 5 pm.

France holds third place on the list. In France, employees have above the average leisure time per day. Approximately 15 hours per day are dedicated to personal care and leisure. The average working hours in France per week are 35. This policy in France regarding the working hours seems to have affected positively the employees, allowing them to have a work-life balance.

Next, follow Iran. Employees in Iran can have vacation approximately 22 days a year. Also, they don’t work on Fridays. Typically, employees work from Saturday to Wednesday (8 hours per day) and half a day on Thursday (4 hours). So, in total, they work 44 hours per week. It is worth mentioning, that women employees are entitled to 90 days of maternity leave.

Syria comes at the 5th place of the list. The working hours for the private sector in Syria are between 08:00 am and 04:00 pm, 6 days a week, with Fridays off. However, most of the enterprises in the private sector work much beyond that, mainly due to poverty and to make savings on the production cost. The civil servants work 7 hours a day, from 08:00 am to 03:00 pm, from Sunday to Thursday, but daily overtime work is allowed for two hours for civil servants where such work is needed.

Madagascar follows at the 6th place of the list. Typically employees work between 8:30 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday. Also, they have a lunch break. If an employee has to work during a holiday, he/she is generally entitled to 150% of the normal pay.

Austria, Comoros, Iceland and Denmark complete the last places of the list. Austria (7th place of the list) has the reputation of excellent working conditions. Employees, are not allowed to work for more than twelve hours per day and 60 hours per week, including overtime. Business hours for public sector in Comoros (8th at the list) are generally from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. The business hours for the private sector are generally from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. A survey, recently conducted in Iceland (9th at the list) proved that workers can work less hours, get paid the same while being productive and improving their personal well-being. Participants in the Iceland study reduced their hours by three to five hours per week without losing pay. It is worth mentioning that the average weekly working hours in Iceland are 44.4. For most areas in Denmark (10th at the list) normal working hours are agreed to 37 hours per week. Also, employees have a 30 minutes long lunch break every day.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at