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Switzerland ranked third-worst for parental work-life balance by new study

Switzerland ranked third-worst for parental work-life balance by new study

Employment management company Remote has rated Switzerland as severely lacking when it comes to providing parents with a good work-life balance. In their latest ranking, Swiss families were found to face excessive costs for key services like childcare.

Best and worst countries for parental work-life balance

To create the report, Remote ranked 20 countries around the world, selected for their population size or “global economic presence”, by where it is best to raise a family. To place each nation on the list, the following factors were considered:

  • The number of weeks offered by maternity and paternity leave
  • Statutory minimum paid leave
  • Global Peace Index
  • Cost of Living Index
  • Monthly cost of childcare services
  • Percentage of GDP spent on family benefits
  • Public spending on childcare and other forms of pre-school
  • Healthcare system
  • Happiness Index

As with most world happiness, quality of life and best places to raise a family studies, Scandinavian countries topped the parental life-work balance ranking, with Norway, Sweden and Denmark taking first to third place respectively. Spain, New Zealand, Poland, Italy and France followed ahead of Germany, with Japan rounding out the top 10. 

Norway was praised by Remote for its “strong focus on equality and work-life balance”, high spending on family benefits, universal healthcare system and world-beating parental leave policies. Sweden and Denmark were both praised along similar lines.

Switzerland rated third worst in parental life ranking

In what will prove tough reading for prospective parents, Switzerland was rated as the third-worst for families when it comes to work-life balance out of the 20 counties analysed. The alpine nation placed ahead of just the United States and South Africa. 

For Remote, while Switzerland placed well when it came to the global peace and happiness indexes, it was also ranked as having the most expensive childcare services out of the whole top 20. The company estimated that families have to pay an average of 2.788 US dollars per month (2.547 francs) for childcare.

Indeed, the most recent data from the OECD found that families in Switzerland fork out more than a quarter of their salaries to pay for childcare, the most in Europe. While government help is available in the form of the family allowance, subsidies aren't nearly enough to cover the costs. Services are also organised and controlled by individual cantons and local councils, leading to a patchwork of services where prices vary hugely by location and demand. 

Plans to subsidise Swiss childcare fall by wayside

Switzerland only spends 0,1 percent of its GDP on childcare - around 26 million francs a year federally - with 90 percent of facilities being privately run. What’s more, attempts to subsidise childcare services nationwide - such as the plan accepted by the Swiss National Council in March 2023 - have been rejected by the Federal Council, which argues that the plans are unaffordable in a time of austerity and that childcare is the responsibility of the cantons, so they should foot the bill. 

A perhaps unsurprisingly bad score for cost of living, and average ratings for maternity and paid leave and public expenditure on social security cemented Switzerland’s position near the bottom of the ranking.

Top 10 countries for parental life-work balance

In all, here are the top 10 countries for parental life-work balance, according to Remote:

  1. Norway
  2. Sweden
  3. Denmark
  4. Spain
  5. New Zealand
  6. Poland
  7. Italy
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Japan

To find out more, or read the complete ranking by Remote, check here.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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