Where are the Best Social Benefits in Europe? New Report from Glassdoor Economic Research

February 17, 2016

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How important are sick pay, unemployment benefits or annual leave entitlements to you? Social workplace benefits for employees in Europe are generally far more generous than in the U.S. Yet even within Europe, benefits vary dramatically. For the very first time, Glassdoor has pulled together social benefits data from 14 key European neighbouring economies plus the U.S., to establish which countries offer what provisions for employees and which are most generous.

The report, conducted in cooperation with Llewellyn Consulting titled “Which Countries in Europe Offer Fairest Paid Leave and Unemployment Benefits”, reveals that the countries offering the most generous workplace and welfare benefits overall are Denmark, France and Spain, with Denmark and Belgium in particular offering the best unemployment benefits (pay and eligibility period).

Key Findings:

  • It’s never good to be out of work, but Denmark is the ‘best’ place in Europe to be unemployed with residents receiving 90 percent of previous earnings granted for up to 104 weeks. As a benchmark, the U.S.offers between 40 percent and 50 percent of earnings for up to 2 6 weeks, depending on the individual state.
  • Paid sick leave is most generous in the Netherlands, where workers can be absent for up to 104 weeks and receive 70 percent of their salary for the whole period.
  • The most generous amount of maternity leave by some considerable margin is in the UK with Ireland a close second at 52 and 42 weeks respectively. In terms of pay however, in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain new mothers get 100 percent of previous earnings for the entire period. In the UK, 39 of the 52 weeks are paid, the first six weeks at 90 percent of earnings, and the remainder at up to £140-odd per week.
  • Paternity leave is not regulated by the EU, so entitlements vary. However new fathers in Finland receive a massive 45 working days off, leading the pack by some considerable margin. UK dads get just 10 working days off.
  • Sweden, France and Denmark all offer 25 days paid leave a year as minimum –the highest entitlement. Spain is a great place for public holidays with 14 offered to those based there, whereas the UK and the Netherlands each provide eight days as standard.