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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:38 am   #1
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Default The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...ber-23/250830/

Why Australia is not in the list?
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 11:12 am   #2
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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well for a start 20 days annual leave is absolute crap and a good 8-10 behind most European countries.

Paid maternity and paternity leave is crap here

Cost, quality and availability of childcare is prohibitive
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 1:58 pm   #3
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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Old Feb 17th 2012, 2:11 pm   #4
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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well for a start 20 days annual leave is absolute crap and a good 8-10 behind most European countries.

Paid maternity and paternity leave is crap here

Cost, quality and availability of childcare is prohibitive
I couldn't go back to just having 20 days I much prefer 27days + public holidays as I have in the UK.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 3:29 pm   #5
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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having worked in 8 countries on that list, I feel emminately qualified to answer this. (Disclaimer: This is all answered from a female perspective)

in Denmark you can get 3 years paid maternity leave and your job is still open to you at the end of those 3 years, and if you get preganant again within the 3 year period it rolls over ( a friend of mine had 3 children in 7 years and is just now going back into her original job - with the appropriate salary increases).

Similar situation in Germany, plus they are very willing to consider part time working / job sharing for women. And the company I worked for in germany insisted that a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks were taken off for our summer break. (We got 32 days annual holiday + 12 public days).

Norway, Netherlands & France - very low weekly hours and strong focus on personal time.

Czech Republic - I worked nominally long hours (start to finish) but we would take 2 hour lunch breaks and the whole factory would also stop at any opportunity to watch 'important' soccer matches - on company provided TVs in the canteen (qualification: 'important' meant anything involving the Czech national team or any major european league game that might possibly affect a Czech team). Plus you could bring your family into the factory to watch the soccer matches (or not watch the soccer matches and just spend nice family time together).

Austria - very relaxed working style and Company very easy going about the need for 'family' time off. High number of annual holidays.

Italy - similar in some ways to Czech Rep - nominally long hours but every excuse under the sun is used to avoid actually "working" and family time trumped everything.

France - family comes first, number of official holidays was the highest in all the countries I worked in and it was also the country I had to do the least number of official work hours. I felt like I was a part-time worker LOL

Hungary was the one country on the list I felt I didnt have a good life balance in, due to the hours I had to work and the number of days off I was allowed.

Compare to OZ - I routinely average 50-55 hours a week, I only see hubby 5 days per fortnight due to the fact he works away on site, and because I am a contractor (as are a lot of the people I work with) I get no paid sick leave and no paid holidays ................... but I have a fabulous life here and the time off I do have is extremely meaningful and enjoyable to me. Plus I'm back in my home country and that means a lot to me after 24 years away.


having said all of that, here in Australia I'm on one of the highest wages I've ever been on (France and Norway excepted) plus I'm back living in my home country (HUUUGE factor in my personal work-life equation), so would I leave Australia right now to get a so-called "Top 20" work life balance? - H%^$ no!!!

There's not one of the countries I've worked in (and I've worked in 14 in total) that I would currently consider leaving Australia for - so for me those survey results are meaningless. If I wasnt happy being back in Australia then maybe, just maybe, those results might persuade me to go back to either Germany or Denmark or to investigate USA or Spain, but for me right now its a moot point. Ask me again in 5 or 10 years.

I can understand how non-australians could look at those result, then look at their life in Australia and decide they might be better off somewhere else.

Fortunately for me, my non-australian hubby is not one of those people
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 9:16 pm   #6
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

The better work/life balance in Australia is a total myth and I'm not sure where the idea even came from. Australians work longer hours than most other developed countries so it stands to reason that you can't work more AND have a better work/life balance. Even on the opening page of this forum there is a story about migrants coming to Australia expecting or looking for a better work life balance. Before anyone jumps in of course individuals may have a better work life balance.

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Old Feb 17th 2012, 9:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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Employee benefits are way behind Europe; 20 days leave is pretty standard here and you really do not want to get sick in Australia because most people only accrue 10 days paid sick a year. So if you break your leg or need a couple of months off the income dries up pretty quickly. Whereas in Europe many employees would have sick pay benefit (at normal rate) for quite a while.

I believe that maternity / paternity benefits are pretty stingy here.

There seems to be this perception that Australian's clock off early and go to the beach. I have seen no sign of this, I arrive in the CBD at around 7am and it is already buzzing with people at this early hour and going home around 6pm seems to be the busiest time at the bus stops. Australian's seem to work long hours to me.

So long hours, low annual leave, low parental leave, stingy sick leave. I am not surprised that on average Australia lags behind Europe on work / life balance.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 9:51 pm   #8
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

I'm not sure anyone has the answer but where does the idea that migrants will have an improved work/life balance come from ? Serious question. I can't for the life of me understand how if you work 9 to 5 you can have anymore time at home than if you worked 9 to 5 in the country you left. I did read someone answer by saying that they live closer to where they work here so the commute isn't as long
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:09 pm   #9
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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well for a start 20 days annual leave is absolute crap and a good 8-10 behind most European countries.

Paid maternity and paternity leave is crap here

Cost, quality and availability of childcare is prohibitive
Everyone that has been in a job on a federal award for 10 years or more gets at least 30 days per year. It's called Long Service Leave... and accrues at between 9 days to 12 days per year after the 10 year mark. You can actually take your long service at half pay and double your time off. A bloke at our place who is nearing retirement only has to work 3 months a year for the next 4 years and thus using up all his LSL he will have accrued some major benefits in super for hardly being at work at all.


Afterthought.... It would probably be a worthwhile excercise for this thread to work out how much of the workforce is in this situation... I would guess somewhere between 30 to 40 pct.... maybe even higher. Very few new migrants on this board though... hence the above views. Which is natural. Must be hard coming to a new country and not receiving what they were used to. Personally I've got something like 800 to 900 hours of sick pay accrued.


.Most people I know have these benefits.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:18 pm   #10
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

I wouldn't imagine that would apply to many, I can't think of too many people who have been with their employers for 10 years or more and as you say it isn't going to apply to new migrants.

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Everyone that has been in a job on a federal award for 10 years or more gets at least 30 days per year. It's called Long Service Leave... and accrues at between 9 days to 12 days per year after the 10 year mark. You can actually take your long service at half pay and double your time off.


Afterthought.... It would probably be a worthwhile excercise for this thread to work out how much of the workforce is in this situation... I would guess somewhere between 30 to 40 pct.... maybe even higher. Very few new migrants on this board though... hence the above views

.Most people I know have these benefits.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:24 pm   #11
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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I wouldn't imagine that would apply to many, I can't think of too many people who have been with their employers for 10 years or more and as you say it isn't going to apply to new migrants.
Most Nurses would.... I know heaps of those. Builders LSL is transferrable as well. Plus I know a few Prison officers and lots of Posties... Even my football mate who manages a a Safeway Branch has managed to accrue it... thats damn hard in retail.. Comes down to how old you are and how long you lived here.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:34 pm   #12
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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Most Nurses would.... I know heaps of those. Builders LSL is transferrable as well. Plus I know a few Prison officers and lots of Posties... Even my football mate who manages a a Safeway Branch has managed to accrue it... thats damn hard in retail.. Comes down to how old you are and how long you lived here.
I believe my company have it too. Only another 8.5 years until I qualify then. I think the point was that the basic leave in Europe is as good as this from day one.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:39 pm   #13
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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The yanks probably got Australia and Austria mixed up again.

I see these lists as a bit like buying Q magazine for the Top 10 Albums By Bands You Don't Know lists.

A bit of entertainment and a talking point but utterly pointless as individual circumstances and tastes vary so much. And can I arsed to learn a foreign language? About as likely as a Whitney Houston tour.

Anyone that actually made an emigration decision based on these things needs their head looking at.
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:41 pm   #14
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

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I'm not sure anyone has the answer but where does the idea that migrants will have an improved work/life balance come from ? Serious question. I can't for the life of me understand how if you work 9 to 5 you can have anymore time at home than if you worked 9 to 5 in the country you left. I did read someone answer by saying that they live closer to where they work here so the commute isn't as long
They never seem to work that much in Neighbours.....
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Old Feb 17th 2012, 10:42 pm   #15
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Default Re: The 23 best countries for work-life balance... Really?

Yes the thought of more holidays once you have worked for someone for 10 years is hardly appealing. Although LSL seems very generous all they are in fact doing is giving you back some of the holidays other countries give you anyway.

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I believe my company have it too. Only another 8.5 years until I qualify then. I think the point was that the basic leave in Europe is as good as this from day one.
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