Netherlands ranks third best country for work-life balance in OECD report

The Netherlands was named third best country for work-life balance in a 2011 report from the OECD.

Northern Europe leads the world in laying out a social safety net for children and poorer parents. With the lowest child-poverty rate among developed nations, Denmark was named the best country for work-life balance followed by Norway second. Finland ranks fourth followed by Belgium ranking fifth.

People in the Netherlands work 1378 hours a year, the lowest rate in the OECD … In the past two decades, the rise in female employment in the Netherlands has been rapid: in the early 80’s the rate was amongst the lowest in the OECD at around 35%, in 2009 it had doubled to over 70%. However, much of the increase in female employment has been on a part-time basis.

Dutch women work almost 2 hours more per day than men, and female employment has climbed to over 70%, if you count part-time work.

What constitutes a balance between work and life? The OECD settled on three chief variables: (1) The share of the labor force that works very long hours (more than 50 hours a week); (2) time spent on “leisure and personal care” (defined in contrast to paid or unpaid work as spending time with friends, going to the movies, pursuing hobbies, sleeping, eating, etc.); and (3) employment rates for women who have children. The United States, which leads most of the world in share of mothers who are working, lagged in leisure time and share of overworked employees.

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