People are comparing working in the US and Denmark: ‘The new American Dream is to leave America’

Workplace cultures differ greatly depending on where you are in the world.

In the United States, most employees work 40 hour weeks, take minimal paid leave, and take seldom breaks throughout the day. Throughout Europe, employees take on a more relaxed approach to their workplace culture. And down under in Australia, work days adapt to the country’s laid-back lifestyle.

It can be difficult to understand just exactly how different workplace cultures are throughout the world. Luckily, one Reddit user detailed their experience working in Denmark compared to working in the US. The thread, which was posted one day ago on the popular forum r/antiwork, has already gained more than 74 thousand likes and 8,000 comments from people voicing their own opinions too.

“I moved from the US to Denmark and wow,” they began the post. “It legitimately feels like every single job I’m applying for is a union job. The average salaries offered are far higher (also I looked it up and found that the minimum wage is $44,252 USD per year). About 40 per cent of income is taken out as taxes, but at the end of the day my family and I get free healthcare, my children will GET PAID to go to college, I’m guaranteed 52 weeks of parental leave (32 of which are fully paid), and five weeks of paid vacation every year.”

“The new American Dream is to leave America,” they wrote.

According to the official website of Denmark, Danes prefer to work within 37 hours a week, with most days finishing up at around 5pm. During the last weeks of July, most Danish offices are closed for the summer, due to the country’s guaranteed five weeks of paid vacation.

Danish women also have better opportunities to pursue a career and balance family life, compared to other countries. About 72 per cent of women have paid jobs outside the home, with access to state-subsidised daycare.

Unions also play a major role in determining the Danish labor market. Wages and working conditions are based on collectively-negotiated agreements between employers and employees. Unlike what the original Reddit post said, there is no legal minimum wage in Denmark because the country’s relatively high wages are set based on labor union negotiations.

“Not American or Dane but I live in Copenhagen,” replied user Brocoolee to the Reddit post. “With any full-time job you can make a very comfortable living in Denmark, could be a cashier or something, you would still have a decent place to live and money to spend on leisure.”

An American who has lived in both the UK and the EU shared that they experienced a seizure and had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance.

In the US, the cost of riding in an ambulance can exceed $1,000 without health insurance. “I am happy to pay 45 per cent taxes not only for me and my family to have good social programs but MORE importantly for those who CANNOT afford these necessities in life,” wrote user Huckinfell2019.

People living in Denmark pay some of the world’s highest taxes. According to the Danish Ministry of Taxation, close to DKK 1,000 billion for financing of the public sector each year, such as financing its tuition-free education system.

“I left America ten years ago for Denmark,” wrote user DigitalPixel07. “Will never live in the states again.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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