The 5 Best Countries for Employee Benefits in 2013

Employee benefits

Providing great benefits attracts the very best people in a given profession. It reduces turnover and makes for a healthier, more productive group of employees. Attractive benefits include several vacation hours that allows employees to spend more leisure time with family and friends, great medical benefits that grant employees access to immediate health care and top-notch retirement packages to secure the future and ease stress. These five countries excel in providing employees with first-rate benefits.


The working people of Denmark enjoy a high level of benefits from the state and their employers. Each Dane must receive 34 paid days of vacation every year. This does not include national holidays. New parents receive at least 52 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. Retiring Danes enjoy a pension plan that is second to none. The average Dane will comfortably retire with a pension equaling 75 percent of their salary. One-third of Danish companies pay for the few procedures not covered by national health care. These include dental work, cosmetic surgery and prescription drugs. Additionally, over 80 percent of Danes will receive meal allowances, company cars and cellular phones.


Norway is very serious about providing excellent working conditions to employees. There is a particular concentration on family life. Men and women receive 47 paid weeks of maternity leave to spend time with their newborn. Each employee receives an automatic 35 days of vacation each year. Health care is free to anyone living in Norway. Most companies provide free meals in the company cafeteria and free on site childcare. A high percentage of employers provide white-collar employees with a free laptop, cell phone and company car.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands there are strict laws in place to ensure employees are adequately compensated. Each employee receives a mandatory 28 days of paid vacation each year. Women receive 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. Employers are required to pay nearly all the healthcare costs of employees. The employee is responsible for a small monthly sum. In cases of emergency, employers must grant calamity leave to their employees. This may range from a few days to several weeks.


Employees in Finland receive a state mandated 35 days of paid vacation time, not including national holidays. Maternity leave is extremely liberal. New parents may take nine months of paid maternity leave and an additional two years of unpaid leave to care for the new child. Health care is free to all workers.


In Sweden, the philosophy is that healthy employees will be productive. All employees receive up to 180 days of paid sick leave if needed. Maternity leave is a generous 480 days to be divided between the mother and father. Most companies provide a gym membership and set aside certain work hours for paid exercise. Healthcare is free, and retirement age is flexible.

The exceptional benefits provided by these five countries translate into higher productivity. These countries are all in the top 15 highest GDP and have citizens that are generally happier and more relaxed.

Author Byline: Phil Liddy is a researcher and business writer who enjoys his health benefits and uses all of his annual vacation days.  He contributes regularly to Masters in Human Resources Degrees.

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