By Sarah Seltzer · 29 Aug 2012
But the primary thing that puts Canada ahead of the US? Only about 4% of its workforce works “very long hours” compared to 11% here in the States. Canadians also benefit from a mandated paid vacation policy in every province, although it varies from place to place.
Men in Canada spend 146 minutes per day cooking, cleaning or caring, higher than the OECD average of 131 minutes but considerably less than Canadian women who spend 248 minutes per day on average on domestic work.
3. Brazil: Vacation heaven.
Since moving from Finsbury Park in London to Copenhagen three years ago with my husband Duncan, our quality of life has skyrocketed and our once staunch London loyalism has been replaced by an almost embarrassing enthusiasm for everything "Dansk."
The greatest change has been the shift in work-life balance. Whereas previously we might snatch dinner once Duncan escaped from work at around nine, he now leaves his desk at five. Work later than 5:30 and the office is a morgue. Work at the weekend and the Danes think you are mad. The idea is that families have time to play and eat together at the end of the day, every day. And it works. Duncan bathes and puts our 14-month-old daughter Liv to bed most nights. They are best buddies as opposed to strangers who try to reacquaint at the weekend.
Actually, in Sweden there’s a total of 13 months of leave that has to be split by two parents. Even the conservative party, which thinks the leave shouldn’t be mandated by gender is in favor of expanding parental leave.
Sweden's paternity-leave benefits, enjoyed by citizens and foreign residents alike, are the most generous in the world—and a debate is under way nationwide over whether to extend them even further. Sweden should require men to take a minimum of three months' leave, instead of the current two months, some politicians argue.
Fathers currently can take off work for as long as 240 days with a government-backed paycheck. Even if a father decides to take a more modest leave than allowed, he must take at least two months before the child is 8 years old to receive the government benefits.
There is a neighborhood health clinic, where she can show up with the baby anytime, with or without an appointment. She gets letters from a local health authority telling her what benefits are available and when she should come to a clinic with her daughter for her regular checkups.
When Ella got a stomach flu earlier this year, a doctor made a house call at 3 a.m. on a Sunday. It was paid for entirely by health insurance.
This is the kind of comprehensive coverage that gets France's health care rated the best in the world by the World Health Organization. It's also why France has some of the world's lowest infant mortality rates and some of the highest birth rates in Europe.
No other place is perfect, but as I learned through my research, each of these countries has something unique to offer its citizens. In America, this issue is on the radar in a way it hasn't been before, evidenced by the fact that companies continue to pioneer interesting vacation solutions to prevent burnout and their ideas are getting play in the national media (check out this place, which tailors its schedule to the seasons).