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World's Best Countries for Work-Life Balance


Long work hours and a lack of options for things to do in your spare time can hugely impact your health and happiness. There’s a reason so many Brits contact Medibroker International looking for advice on health insurance for abroad (besides our years of experience).

People working in the UK often suffer poor physical and emotional wellbeing due to the demands of work, and more and more people, particularly professionals with young families, are turning their backs on their home country to build a new life abroad in a place which offers a more attractive balance between the demands of work and the life they really want to live.

There are now 4.5 million Britons living abroad. Trying to decide where you should move?

By comparing average working hours per week with time spent on personal projects and relaxation, it’s easy to see which countries rank best and worst when it comes to work/life balance – and it seems Scandinavia is the best location for expats looking for a life outside of the office.


Best country for work-life balance: Denmark

Denmark was ranked No. 1 in the world for providing the best work/life balance by the OECD, as the country in which five to six hours per day are dedicated to ‘personal care’. Expats in Denmark can enjoy a full 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, 34 days of paid vacation, and a few working hours.


Best countries for short working weeks: Germany & Netherlands

According to the OECD, Germans work just 27.8 hours per week. This allows for a high standard of living, and despite this, Germany also maintains one of the strongest economies in Europe.

Workers in the Netherlands clock an average of 27.6 hours per week. Like Germany, however, the Netherlands maintains a healthy GDP and high standard of living in spite of fewer hours on the job. On top of that, they are given 28 paid vacation days per year and 16 weeks of paid maternity leave at 100 percent of their salaries.


Best countries for parents: Bulgaria, Norway & Sweden

People working in Bulgaria are given up to 410 days of paid maternity leave at 90% of the mother's salary, 45 days of which must be taken during the actual pregnancy. Parents and grandparents are also eligible for a second year of paid parental leave at a reduced salary.

Expats in Norway who have a child could be given as much as 47 weeks at full salary or 57 weeks at 80% salary. Norwegian workers are also given 35 days of paid vacation per year. Norway has one of the strongest GDPs in the world, meaning this baby-friendly country is thriving despite its generous benefits for new parents.

As many as 480 days (16 months) of paid parental leave are offered to workers in Sweden, 60 days of which are reserved for the father. Furthermore, those 480 days can be used at any time over the first eight years of the child's life. Sweden also offers a generous 36 days of paid vacation every year.


Click here to read more about the costs of pregnancy and childbirth for expats around the world.


Best countries for holiday lovers: Brazil & France

Expats who want to really enjoy their new environment should head to Brazil, which offers workers the most paid vacation days per year in the world. Full-time workers can earn a whopping 41 paid days off — 30 of those days are mandated for leisure time at the worker's convenience, and the other 11 are considered paid federal holidays.

France is also a world leader in the number of paid vacation days: 40 in total, 30 of which are mandated and 10 of which are public holidays.


Suppose you are planning a move to these countries or anywhere else in the world, or perhaps you’re already benefiting from a better lifestyle overseas. In that case, you will need international health insurance for living abroad.


Click here to fill in our short form and our Medibroker health insurance for abroad experts will get back to you.

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