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End to stressful Danish holiday system

International scholars exempted from eccentric Danish holiday money system. About time, says a scientist in Copenhagen

Non-Danish post docs and visiting scholars at the University of Copenhagen can now freely dispose of their hard-earned holiday money immediately.

This is according to the International Staff Mobility Office (ISM). ISM was represented on a committee that originally drafted the new rules.

PhDs are so far still not included in the change, but »we are working to have PhD students being a part of it too,« says Vivian Tos Lindgaard, head of ISM to the University Post.

Scientist: Change is needed

The change, which will come into effect after the summer, exempts international researchers from an eccentric Danish holiday money system: A portion of employees’ monthly salary is withheld until after 1 May the following year.

International researchers and staff, and indeed all expatriates in Denmark on a short stay, are particularly hard hit in the present system.

The rules effectively withhold large amounts of pay until the following year, leaving newcomers with no paid holiday the first part of their stay.

Everyone needs time to refresh

It is about time the rules were changed, says Nele Boelaert, an international scientist that the University Post contacted at the Niels Bohr Institute.

She started her postdoctoral project in 2010 to search for particles in the CERN experiment.

»The present holiday money system is no good at all,« she says. The rules give newcomers the incentive to work non-stop, she adds.

ISM to meet govt. agency on PhDs

»Apart from a few days, I hardly had any holiday at all last year, as there was no holiday money. I compensated the days I did take by working overtime. But everyone should have a holiday, as everyone needs time to refresh,« says Nele.

A delegation from the University of Copenhagen’s ISM office is to meet the director of the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment in May. Hopefully »it will result in international PhDs also being included in the change,« says Vivian Tos Lindgaard.

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