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    Updated on Oct 18, 2018. Posted on Sep 3, 2018

    11 Ways Other Countries Are Nailing This Whole Work-Life Balance Thing

    Four-day workweeks? Count me in.

    1. In Sweden, people practice fika, a twice-daily coffee break during which you simply share a moment, a drink, and a treat with coworkers or oneself.

    @mat_stockholm / Via

    At any Swedish office, there's a fika break in the morning and in the afternoon, usually lasting around 12 minutes each, according to The Little Book of Fika. The beloved ritual gives employees a chance to slow down and savor a meditative moment (and a delicious pastry) during their workday.

    2. In 2017, France introduced a law that gives workers the "right to disconnect" from their work email after hours.

    @sweetsandsoirees / Via

    The law requires companies with 50 or more employees to create new out-of-office email guidelines with their staff. France's Ministry of Labor said the measures were put in place to "ensure respect for rest periods" and help employees balance work, family, and personal life.

    3. In Finland, mothers can start their maternity leave seven weeks before their due date, and stay home for a year with full benefits and salary after having the baby.

    Oh, and Finland is the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time than mothers with their school-age children, thanks to the country's generous paternity leave policy.

    4. Some commuters in Norway are able to count travel time as part of their workday.

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    They may not be at the office, but if they're checking their email — like so many of us do on our commutes — they're technically at the disposal of their employer.

    5. In China, employees are only allowed nine hours of overtime a week, for which they must be paid 1.5 times their wage.

    http://@kiki.doyoulovemeee / Via

    If they happen to work on the weekend, they can look forward to double their regular wage or a day off during the week. And if they work a statutory holiday, they're paid three times their normal wage.

    6. In Denmark, employees can often choose when they start their workday and have the option to work from home.

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    Only 2% of employees report working long hours. What do they do with all of their free time? Well, they spend around two-thirds of their day eating, sleeping, and indulging in leisurely pursuits, of course.

    7. Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world: Workers aged 21 and over make $15.96 AUD per hour.

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    That's equivalent to $11.73 USD. Plus, the tax burden is low enough that employees don't see a huge cut in their paycheck after deductions.

    8. German workers recently won the right to reduce their weekly hours from 35 to 28 for up to two years to look after their families.

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    The average German already works just 1,363 hours annually, which equates to about 26 hours per week.

    9. In Luxembourg, employees can expect a minimum of five weeks paid annual leave.

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    That's in addition to more than a dozen national holidays.

    10. A New Zealand company trialled a four-day workweek, while still paying their employees for five.

    @arcturusstudiointeriors / Via

    The researchers who studied the effect on the firm's staff found that not only did employees get to spend more time with loved ones, in the garden, at the gym, and in the kitchen, they were also more productive at work. Their attendance, punctuality, and creativity all increased — so much so that the firm hopes to make the change permanent.

    11. In Austria, while many employees work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., they're encouraged to leave at 3 p.m. on Fridays.

    @smallerbiggerlife / Via

    Year-round summer Fridays? Yes, please.

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