A Universal System for a Better Life
What defines a place as a happy – a place that keeps those fortunate enough to be born there while also being able to lure newcomers? In Sweden, which consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries on earth, we believe the primary reason is that the concept of a “work-life balance” is more than just words to its residents. It is incorporated into the fundamental aspects of how Sweden operates as a country, including its universal parental leave, childcare, and education system, and its mandatory vacation periods.
480 Days of Paid Parental Leave!
What you choose to do during your working hours shouldn’t deprive you of quality time spent with your family, friends, or pursing other passions. One example of this belief manifested into Swedish policy is its parental leave system, granting Swedish residents 480 days of paid paternal and maternal leave – the most of any country in the world – to ensure that parents get time to nurture their newborn children without having to worry about losing their position at work.
And once that baby becomes a toddler, Sweden has a universally subsidized childcare system, that ranges from 100% free to a cap of approximately $150 a month, at most. Thus, regardless of a parent’s income, all children in Sweden will receive the same care, with one of the highest per capita expenditures per child in the world.
Sweden also offers a generous 120 days of paid leave per year to take care of a sick child, in addition to free world-leading healthcare, so again, you don’t have to choose between your job and your family! And these policies work, according to the OECD’s latest ranking of countries for labor force participation rate, with Sweden claiming the number one spot.
We demand you NOT to work!
Finally, as your probably already know, Sweden has long and cold winters. But what you may not know, but what is equally as true, is that Sweden has some of the best summers in the world. And that is why most Swedes simply take off all summer long, as the country mandates at least 5 weeks of paid vacation time per year. In Sweden, we enjoy the famous midnight sun, the period of summer where the sun never sets; warm, but not hot, summer temperatures; and endless miles of gorgeous coastline and mountainous hiking trails to explore. The summer is sacrosanct in Sweden. And is to be taken seriously – and by seriously, we mean to be taken off to enjoy with your family and friends!
In Sweden, a country of just over 10 million people, we have produced some of the most innovate products and companies in the world, including IKEA, Volvo, Spotify, the 3-point seatbelt, Minecraft, the pacemaker, Bluetooth, Skype, H&M, Ericsson, and AstraZeneca, all while soaking in the summer sun each year, enjoying 16 months of paid parental leave to welcome a new child, and ensuring that anyone that chooses to work will not be hindered by childcare or healthcare expenses.
Welcome to Sweden, where when we say “work-life balance,” we actually mean it!