How UK paid leave compares to other countries in Europe: in charts

The UK ranked in the bottom three countries for unemployment benefit, maternity and paternity entitlements

Hazel Sheffield
Thursday 18 February 2016 15:15
Comments
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, has warned that workers’ rights are at stake in the EU referendum
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, has warned that workers’ rights are at stake in the EU referendum

Britain has some of the worst employee benefits in Europe, according to a study.

The UK ranked in the bottom three countries for unemployment benefit, maternity and paternity entitlements, annual leave and sick pay in Europe, Glassdoor said.

Only Switzerland and Ireland came out worse.

“No governments have limitless budgets, but the general perception has always been that the UK provides a generous benefit scheme for all,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist.

“We now have evidence to suggest that Britain is no longer an easy ride, especially when compared to its European neighbours.

Denmark, France and Spain came out best for welfare benefits over all.

Union leaders have warned that workers’ rights are at stake in the EU referendum.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said that a yes vote risks’ UK workers’ rights to paid holiday, maternity leave and fair treatment at work.

Glassdoor’s research shows that even within the EU, these benefits can vary widely.

Paid holiday entitlement in the EU is set at a minimum of four weeks per year, exclusive of bank holidays

But in Sweden, France and Denmark you can get 25 working days or the equivalent of five weeks, if you work full time as the Statista chart shows. In the US there is no statutory requirement to pay employees holiday leave at all.

The UK offers the longest maternity leave in Europe

At 52 weeks, UK maternity leave is some of the best in Europe. The statutory minimum under EU law is 14 weeks. The US has no mandated maternity leave pay.

Paternity leave is unregulated in the EU and benefits vary widely

But Finnish parents come out on top.

Under EU law, parents are entitled to 16 weeks of leave to care for their children.

Pay is regulated by each country. France and Germany come out on top. In the UK, all parental leave is unpaid and Switzerland offers none at all.

Sick pay is especially generous in the Netherlands

Workers there can be sick for 104 weeks, or two years, and still get 70 per cent of their salary. The UK is the least generous, offering 28 weeks paid leave.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in