• work-life balance in // belgium

 

When considering which country has the best work/life balance, most of us would immediately think of one of the Nordic countries boasting the happiest people in the world: Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland. You may be surprised to learn that recent studies placed Belgium in the top five for a healthy work/life balance.

 

work/life balance belgium // mahabis journal

 

belgium //

Ranked behind only Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, Belgium is currently in fourth position on the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) list of the countries with the best work/life balance. Based upon average working hours, pay, quality of life and several other criteria, this ranking places Belgium at leaps and bounds in front of other nations, including the UK, the US and even Sweden.

It may be because the Belgians offer up to 30 days of annual leave a year (including public holidays) or linked to their shorter working hours; but it is likely also linked to their general attitude towards work. Similar to other countries that rank highly on the index, Belgian’s see work as a means of living, rather than allowing it to consume their lives.

 

 

work/life balance belgium // mahabis journal

 

holidays //

One of the most important factors in determining the perfect work/life balance is how many holiday days’ workers are entitled to each year. Belgians who work five days a week are entitled to 20 days of annual leave a year – plus a generous 10 public holidays based around the Catholic calendar and important historical events.

In a slightly unusual twist, annual leave is calculated on the amount of days that employees worked during the previous year. However, measures are in place to ensure that those who start work at the beginning of January are still entitled to holidays.

Most people take their annual leave as a full months summer holiday in July or August, coinciding with school holidays to enjoy a well earned rest from work. Rather than having to beg your employer for longer holidays, the Belgians encourage taking your holiday allowance all at once to spend quality time with your family.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

pay //

The salary system in Belgian is far from typical. Rather than being paid monthly twelve times a year, employee’s salaries are divided by 13.92 with two extra pay days each year at the times when expenses are most likely to soar.

In May, you are given an extra 92% of a month’s salary as vacation pay, to fund your expected month-long vacation over the summer. At the end of the year, around Christmas time, an extra month’s bonus is given (known as the 13th month’s pay). Rather than saving for holidays or for Christmas, this helps Belgians to organise their finances.

Salaries are also indexed, automatically increasing each year based on rising living costs. This inflation is based upon the health index (consumer price index minus tobacco, fuel and alcohol), and essentially means that the government assess the rising cost of living annually to raise salaries accordingly.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

working hours //

Belgian law fixes typically working hours at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. These hours can be reduced by mutual agreement, but are rarely increased and it is a seldom occurrence for staff to work longer days.

The working day is typically 8.30 – 5.30 with an hours lunch break as standard. Occasionally management may exceed these working hours, but it is very rare for staff to work through their lunch break or stay at the office late into the night.  In fact, only 5% of the population work exceedingly long hours.

The OECD observed average of daily time off is 15.46 hours, a figure which rises to 16.61 hours in Belgium.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

If you enjoyed reading our post, feel free to share via our ready-to-go tweet link.

 

photos: via upsplash

work-life balance in // belgium

 

When considering which country has the best work/life balance, most of us would immediately think of one of the Nordic countries boasting the happiest people in the world: Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland. You may be surprised to learn that recent studies placed Belgium in the top five for a healthy work/life balance.

 

work/life balance belgium // mahabis journal

 

belgium //

Ranked behind only Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, Belgium is currently in fourth position on the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) list of the countries with the best work/life balance. Based upon average working hours, pay, quality of life and several other criteria, this ranking places Belgium at leaps and bounds in front of other nations, including the UK, the US and even Sweden.

It may be because the Belgians offer up to 30 days of annual leave a year (including public holidays) or linked to their shorter working hours; but it is likely also linked to their general attitude towards work. Similar to other countries that rank highly on the index, Belgian’s see work as a means of living, rather than allowing it to consume their lives.

 

 

work/life balance belgium // mahabis journal

 

holidays //

One of the most important factors in determining the perfect work/life balance is how many holiday days’ workers are entitled to each year. Belgians who work five days a week are entitled to 20 days of annual leave a year – plus a generous 10 public holidays based around the Catholic calendar and important historical events.

In a slightly unusual twist, annual leave is calculated on the amount of days that employees worked during the previous year. However, measures are in place to ensure that those who start work at the beginning of January are still entitled to holidays.

Most people take their annual leave as a full months summer holiday in July or August, coinciding with school holidays to enjoy a well earned rest from work. Rather than having to beg your employer for longer holidays, the Belgians encourage taking your holiday allowance all at once to spend quality time with your family.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

pay //

The salary system in Belgian is far from typical. Rather than being paid monthly twelve times a year, employee’s salaries are divided by 13.92 with two extra pay days each year at the times when expenses are most likely to soar.

In May, you are given an extra 92% of a month’s salary as vacation pay, to fund your expected month-long vacation over the summer. At the end of the year, around Christmas time, an extra month’s bonus is given (known as the 13th month’s pay). Rather than saving for holidays or for Christmas, this helps Belgians to organise their finances.

Salaries are also indexed, automatically increasing each year based on rising living costs. This inflation is based upon the health index (consumer price index minus tobacco, fuel and alcohol), and essentially means that the government assess the rising cost of living annually to raise salaries accordingly.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

working hours //

Belgian law fixes typically working hours at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. These hours can be reduced by mutual agreement, but are rarely increased and it is a seldom occurrence for staff to work longer days.

The working day is typically 8.30 – 5.30 with an hours lunch break as standard. Occasionally management may exceed these working hours, but it is very rare for staff to work through their lunch break or stay at the office late into the night.  In fact, only 5% of the population work exceedingly long hours.

The OECD observed average of daily time off is 15.46 hours, a figure which rises to 16.61 hours in Belgium.

 

work-life balance in belgium

 

If you enjoyed reading our post, feel free to share via our ready-to-go tweet link.

 

photos: via upsplash
  • Author avatar
    Sarah Lopeman
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