Ok, I promised photos of cake and coffee and pastries, so here you go!
This week I want to talk about Austrian work-life balance. One thing I have really enjoyed about Austria is that maintaining a healthy well being seems to be a much higher priority than it is in the states. Enjoying leisure time is encouraged both in practice and policy. For example, in the US there are no federal requirements for paid vacation days or public holidays. This of course varies from employer to employer, but theoretically you could end up with no paid vacation days or public holidays. In contrast, Austrian law mandates a minimum of 5 weeks of paid leave. Yes, WEEKS. This is comprised of 13 paid public holidays and 25 days of paid vacation. If you’ve been working somewhere for 25 years, that number goes up to 30 days of paid vacation. In regards to parental leave, it gets even better. Mothers are required to cease work (while receiving payment) for the 8 weeks leading up to the birth of their child as well as the 8 weeks after. You can opt for more time after that (up to your child’s second birthday) but I’m pretty sure that payment situation changes. Either way, it’s a pretty amazing system.
While these policies are great, none of them particularly effect me. However, I have certainly enjoyed Austrian cafe culture, which I think is also reflective of Austria’s respect for work-life balance. Things work a bit differently in your average Austrian coffee shop. Firstly, you’re expected to stay as long as you want. Because waiters here have steadier wages and do not rely on tips, no one will try and hurry you out. Even if you’re done with your drinks and pastries and the waiter comes to take the plates, they will not automatically bring your bill. You have to ask for it. So unless you want to leave, you can just sit back and relax. It isn’t unusual for people to spend a few hours chatting with their friends in a cafe. Similarly, cafe-going is practically encouraged. Late afternoon is widely accepted as a time for cake and coffee (Kaffee und Kuchen). As a steadfast cake lover I have utilized this time wisely.
Finally, I promised you photos, so here’s a little photo compilation of pastries and drinks from Vienna!
Not sure when I’ll be blogging next due to midterms and papers, but I will for sure have some updates soon!