Patt Morrison for January 5, 2012

A 2011 “Work-life balance report” puts the U.S. last out of 23 countries

People enjoy the weather in the city of

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

People enjoy the weather in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 16, 2011. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Denmark has the healthiest "work-life balance" of all its members.

How many hours in your day are devoted to leisure and personal care? If your answer is upwards of 15, you’re in good company—sort of. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its 2011 “Work-life balance report,” which ranks its member countries according to three indicators: daily leisure time for citizens, percentage of the labor force who work extreme hours, and employment rates for women with children.

Not surprisingly, Northern European countries did the best, with Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands occupying the top three spots. The United States came in last, with 11% of its workforce listed as working extreme hours, but the amount of leisure time for workers didn’t vary drastically from other members. The main black mark is the fact that the United States is “the only OECD country without a national paid parental leave policy,” a situation the OECD claims is caused by the fact that “a significant proportion of support is delivered via tax breaks and credits (45% of total compared to 10% on average in the OECD).”

WEIGH IN:

Do you feel you work too much, or do you love your job so much that you’d rather be at work than at home? What defines a “healthy work-life balance” for you?

Guest:

Derek Thompson, senior editor, The Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for the website


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