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What is it like to work in other countries?


If you work in a multi-national company, you will no doubt have developed some opinions on how co-workers in different countries work and/or the working conditions they have.

It may be that you think certain countries always seem to have national holidays or that certain subsidiaries only work certain hours.

Well, all may not be as it seems, and the grass may not be greener on the other side after all.

Here, we look at some of the misconceptions people have about working in different countries.

Germany has the most holidays

Knowing which country gives the most statutory paid time off (PTO) to workers is difficult. Different sources report differently. Some add national holidays into the total or some just count the statutory allowance that companies have to offer.

It’s reported that some countries like Kuwait and Cambodia have 43 and 42 days respectively.

On the whole it seems that countries in the Middle East like Iran have the largest amount of PTO and European nations tend to have around 20-30 days annual leave.

Spare a thought for your colleagues in the United States as there is no statutory obligation for companies to offer vacation to their employees. However, most companies do however offer some form of paid time off.

In France the working week is only 35 hours

Well this perception, is not necessarily true. While there is legislation in France surrounding a 35 hour working week, staff can request to work above the limit and managers are not subject to the restriction.

There are countries, however, that work fewer hours according to the OECD. On average countries like Germany, Denmark and Norway tend to work fewer hours annually than the French.

Workers in Japan and South Korean work the longest hours

At the other end of the spectrum, the common thought is that workers in South Korea and Japan work the longest hours. The notion of ‘Salarymen’ in Japan has been documented for many years, which is why many believe everyone works long hours.

However, the OECD report that Mexico and Costa Rica work longer hours on average than workers in South Korea and Japan.

Of course – as with all statistics – they are open to question as some workers may under report or over report working hours to adhere to regulations.

Business Insider reports that Columbia is the country with the worst work/life balance. The average working week is 47.7 hours long, leaving little free time outside of work.

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