CT : Can you tell me about working conditions here in Denmark ?
MA : We have a quite informal working culture in Denmark based on trust.
People are generally able and willing to take some responsibility, which probably is the result of our educational system, where we learn to be critical thinkers with ability and freedom to have our own opinion. Probably this is also why we have a very low power distance and people are generally treating each others as equals, trusting that we all do our best.
I think our labor market is characterized by work life balance and flexibility. Probably because we have one of the world’s best social security systems that comes from paying one of the highest levels of taxes in the world.
The working hours usually goes from 8 am to 4 pm or from 9 am to 5 pm. We have 5 weeks vacation per year by law and a number of public holidays.
Expenses for education is mainly covered by the state which allows equality of chances for everybody from primary school to University. The same goes for health expenses.
As for maternity, the mother gets 14 weeks maternity leave and the father 2 weeks. After this, the parents have 32 weeks of parental leave for either one of them to take.
Concerning retirement, the retirement age used to be 65 for everyone, but there has been a reforming of the pension system and now it depends on when you were born. If you chose to pay for a certain fund you will have an opportunity for early retirement typically 3 years earlier than your actual time for retirement.
The flexibility part of our so called « Flexicurity system » is that employers can quite easily adjust their workforce and adapt to changes in the market. This means that an employment contract can be terminated by the employer giving between 14 days and 6 months notice depending on the character of the work, the type of employment and the seniority of the employee.
Another kind of flexibility is also common in Denmark – the flexibility to work outside normal working hours and from home – also depending on the character of the work.