April 01, 2015

The World’s Most Worker-Friendly Countries

There have been countless research studies on which countries offer the best working conditions for their workforces, ranging in focus from unemployment rates, vacation policies, minimum wage, and more. To make the comparison easier, we rank 34 relatively rich and developed countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for each individual working condition.


National unemployment rate is a good indicator of a country’s worker-friendliness since low unemployment means a higher chance of finding a job faster.

Unemployment Rate by Country (July 2014)

Unemployment Rate by Country (July 2014)

Source: Quartz

Vacation and Weekends

In some countries, such as Finland and France, the government guarantees at least 30 days of paid vacation every year. At the other end of the spectrum, the U.S. does not guarantee any paid vacation days.

Average Hours Worked per Person Annually

Average Hours Worked per Person Annually

Source: OECD

In the United States, where the workweek has historically been five days, many companies are starting to offer four-day workweeks. In many countries, however, companies are not required by the government  to provide a 2 or 3 day weekend. Only Greece, Estonia, and Hungary are legally entitled to a full two-day weekend. In the U.S., only a one-day weekend is government protected.

How Long is the Government-Protected Weekend?

 How Long is the Government-Protected Weekend

Source: World Bank Group

Minimum Wage

Simply comparing minimum wage from country to country is not enough to understand how friendly a country is in terms of wages. A better method is to determine how minimum wage compares to average salaries in the country. For example, in Turkey earning minimum wage means a paycheck that is about two-thirds the size of the average earner’s. In the United States, meanwhile, minimum wage is earning just over a third of the average salary.

How Does Minimum Wage Compare to  Average Salaries

How Does Minimum Wage Compare to  Average Salaries