Simple graph shows how much better some European countries treat citizens | Popgen Tech


The Men’s World Cup grabbed the world’s attention in 2022 as teams battled for a coveted spot on the podium. Even the US men’s national team has had some success, reaching the quarterfinals after not even qualifying for the final one in 2018.

That said, the stars and stripes missed the podium. And a new chart shows that the US would win no medals for the assistance – or lack thereof – it provides to workers.

Perhaps playing off the hype for the World Cup, the chart uses medals to compare the U.S. to global peers Germany, France, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom. The creator, u/aaabigwyattmann3, posted it on the antiwork subreddit.

Here’s how the US stacks up against its European peers.

a tired man at his desk

Universal health care

The US was the only country in the group that did not provide universal health care. The World Health Organization defines universal health care as access to a full range of quality services when they want them without financial hardship.

The US has made progress since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010. A new report from the US Department of Health and Human Services said that a record 35 million Americans signed up for coverage related to the ACA by early 2022. However, this is still not the whole country.

Free college

Unlike some other categories on this list, the US is not on an island unto itself when it comes to free college. Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom also do not offer it. Public universities are free Germany.

France’s tuition is actually not free, despite what the graphic said, but students can pay based on family income. It is also wrong about the UK, which stopped offering free teaching in 1998, but students do not have to pay upfront costs. Swedish students can go to school for free if they study for a post-doctoral degree.

Paid maternity leave and vacation

The United States is the only industrialized country that does not offer federal paid leave to new parents. Congress looked close to passing it in 2021, but 12 weeks was shortened to four weeks and then removed entirely from the Build Back Better Act after objections from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. The FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) provide 12 weeks of unpaid family leave and job protection to employees under specific circumstances. Compare that to Sweden, where no parents get 480 days of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Families with two parents can split the leave 240 days apart.

Maternity leave isn’t a vacation — as anyone with a young child will tell you — but the U.S. has also been an outlier in paid vacation.

Paid sick leave

The US also does not guarantee sick leave to workers. Germany (up to six weeks on full payment), Sweden (usually compensated for entire time sick, with the first 14 days coming from the employer at a minimum of 80% salary), France (to € 47.43 per day), and the UK (up to 28 weeks on a minimum government mandate) all do.

Does the lack of assistance make you want to quit your job? Maybe see about a four-day work week? Praying to be quietly fired – or officially fired so you can collect unemployment? For what it’s worth, found one report no one took home more money per year than American workers ($74,000).

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