not be in the top 10.
Scandinavian countries have been always in the top 10 in the happiness index because they offer equality in terms of education.
Education is free in most Scandinavian countries up to the doctoral level.
For instance, students in Norway don’t pay tuition fees. However, they pay a semester fee of 300 to 600 kroner (RM155 to RM310).
Norway’s labour laws are generous. It allows workers a minimum of 21 paid vacation days a year and allows parents with young children to reduce their working hours when necessary.
Maternity leave can extend up to 43 weeks at full pay, or 53 weeks at reduced pay. Part-time work among Norwegian women is common.
Work-life balance is a main reason why Scandinavian countries dominate the list.
Denmark offers the shortest working hours in the world. Many offices in Denmark close before 5pm and working during weekends or national holidays is uncommon. Meetings after 4pm are rare, as many would prepare to go home and have dinner with the family.
However, Danish work intensively but leave early, so obviously, there is no time for leisure during working hours.
They work an average of 33 hours a week and have five weeks of paid vacation each year.
Thus, if Malaysia wants to improve its ranking, it has to change the way it does things, such as, workers upholding honesty and integrity in their work.
Working hours are not the measurement of hard work, but rather, their sincerity in completing the task.
When tasks are completed quickly and with accuracy, we can reduce our working hours too.
DR SITI SURIANI OTHMAN, Nilai, Negri Sembilan
Norway is the happiest country in the world.