What’s going on:
Expatriates from America, who’ve recently relocated abroad, are questioning the differences in work-life balance from the US to other countries, such as paid leave and working hours.
Overall, North America and European countries seem to offer the best balance, however, overworking still remains a major concern worldwide, according to Business Insider.
A report by the UN’s International Labor Organization revealed that a third of all international employees are putting in 48 hours or more a week.
Why it matters:
U.S. employees worked on average 1,750 hours per year, a significant 400 hours more annually than the traditional full-time workweek of 40 hours. But in the 2023 worldwide work-life balance index by Forbes, the UK still secured five spots among the top 25 cities offering the best work-life balance — surpassing the US, France, and Australia.
In a recent Forbes report, the cities of Melbourne and Sydney made the top 25, coming in at 18th and 22nd respectively. On average, Australians work a solid 32 to 38 hours per week, with 20 days of paid time off and up to 16 weeks of maternity leave for mothers.
Although Australia didn’t quite make the top 10, New Zealand placed an impressive sixth PLACE, where the typical full-time worker clocks an average of 26 hours weekly.
How it’ll impact the future:
Some US companies, such as Basecamp, Panasonic, and ThredUP, are taking measures to reduce the usual 40-hour workweek, introducing a four-day workweek instead. In support of this move, Rep. Mark Takano of California recently reintroduced a bill to the US House that would slash the working week to 32 hours.
It’s clear that the US is seriously overworked, so some companies and politicians are beginning to take measures to improve work-life balance.