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Study shows France offers a better work/life balance than the UK

PUBLISHED: 10:38 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 November 2018

France ranked eight places higher than the UK for work/life balance © Esperanza33/GettyImages

France ranked eight places higher than the UK for work/life balance © Esperanza33/GettyImages

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For many years now, British expats have been attracted to the lifestyle that France so famously offers and a new study published to coincide with National Work Life Week has shown that France offers a better work/life balance than the UK

France offers a better work/life balance than the UK, according to a new study. Conducted by TotallyMoney, the study looked at 24 European countries to see which ones offered the maximum amount of leisure time to keep their citizens happy, and a minimum of (productive) working hours. The study was conducted and the results published to coincide with National Work Life Week, which runs from 1-5 October 2018.

France ranked in fifth place overall and came eight places ahead of the UK, which managed an unlucky 13th position. While Denmark and Sweden came top of the list for the best work/life balance, France achieved the highest score of all the 24 countries studied for the number of hours its citizens dedicated to leisure and personal care each day (including sleep).

Enjoying the benefits of the French lifestyle © Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy/Getty ImagesEnjoying the benefits of the French lifestyle © Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images

The study rated each of the countries, which also included Ireland, Spain, Italy and Greece, using the following criteria: happiness index, productivity, hours worked in a week, minimum holiday allowance, total bank holidays, time devoted to leisure, cost of living index.

Each of these was converted into a score between one and 10, which were then combined into a weighted average to rank the countries. While the UK managed a slightly higher score than France on the happiness index, France scored more highly than the UK for average monthly salary, productivity, the number of bank holidays and the time devoted to leisure.

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In order to provide an accurate comparison between leisure time and work time, average time worked per week was divided across five days to show how many hours were worked per day. The results showed that on average, citizens in France devote 9.3 hours to leisure per day – the highest of the top 10 countries including overall winner Denmark – while 7.5 hours was the average amount of time they spent working per day.

The TotallyMoney study looked at 24 European countries © TotallyMoneyThe TotallyMoney study looked at 24 European countries © TotallyMoney

France’s scores

Happiness index = 6

Productivity = 59.2 (GDP per hour)

Hours worked in a week = 37.3

Minimum holiday allowance = 25 days

Average monthly salary = €2,225

Total bank holidays = 11

Time devoted to leisure and personal care = 16.4 hours

Cost of living index = €81.20 (average amount a person would spend on essential items)

UK’s scores

Average monthly salary = €1,888

Happiness index = 6.7

Hours worked in a week = 37

Productivity = 51.3 (GDP per hour)

Minimum holiday allowance = 28 days

Total bank holidays = 6

Time devoted to leisure and personal care = 14.9 hours

Cost of living index = €76 (average amount a person would spend on essential items)

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In 2017, a survey by French newspaper l’Express revealed the most desirable towns and cities in France to both work and live in. In order to rank which areas were best for living, the survey took things such as the weather, transport systems, affordable housing and air quality into consideration. For work life, the duration of the train journey to Paris, levels of unemployment and creation of jobs determined where in France offered the best professional life. The results showed that Nantes, Lyon, Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse were among the best French cities to live and work in.

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