Jobs and the Future of Work

These countries have the best work-life balance

People in Italy have the best work-life balance, according to the OECD.

People in Italy have the best work-life balance, according to the OECD. Image: Unsplash/Piret Ilver

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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Society & Future of Work

  • People in Italy have the best work-life balance, according to the OECD.
  • Only 3 percent of employees in the country work more than 50 hours a week.
  • Denmark, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands are also ranked highly.
  • But the US comes in 29th because more than a tenth of people have long working hours.

People in Italy enjoy the best work-life balance, according to recent findings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Unsurprisingly, the most important aspect for a healthy work-life balance is the amount of time people spend (not) at work, how many people work very long hours and how much time remains for leisure. The authors of the Better Life Index note that "evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress."


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Employed Italians had the most time for leisure and personal activities in the survey, while only 3 percent of employees in the country worked very long hours (50 or more hours a week). In comparison, 10.4 percent of American employees worked very long hours, causing the United States to rank much lower (29th out of 41 countries in the running).

An infographic showing OECD countries ranked highest for the quality of their work-life balance in 2020
Italy ranked higher than France, Spain and Germany for their quality of work-life balance in 2020 Image: Statista/OECD
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Jobs and the Future of WorkHealth and Healthcare Systems
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