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University reacts to Rector salary stories

The University of Copenhagen reacts to what it calls media 'rumours'. Offers more details on Rector Ralf Hemmingsen's pay agreement

With the heading ‘Facts about Rector’s salary’, the University of Copenhagen has opted to release more details on the just re-hired Ralf Hemmingsen’s salary agreement with the Board of the University.

This is after criticism by commentators in this and other media of his extra severance package in spite of being re-hired as Rector. According to the fact sheet now released, Rector Ralf Hemmingsen will be paid DKK 1.74 million a year plus a redundancy payment (his severance package) at the expiration of his current employment contract.

“Rector’s pay is in line with what corresponding senior executives in the public sector receive on a fixed-term basis,” says Nils Strandberg Pedersen, chairman of the Board.

Here is the fact sheet detailing Rector Ralf Hemmingsens’s salary agreement (on needs log-in).

Prorector, university directors have this contract too

According to the fact sheet, ‘there have been rumours about Rector’s salary after coverage in the media’. His severance package, here named a redundancy payment, is in order, says the Chairman of the Board Nils Strandberg Pedersen.

“Rector’s current and coming contract is in compliance with agreements on fixed-term employment entered into between the relevant organisations and the Danish Ministry of Finance. It is also in respect of this agreement, that the redundancy payment will be paid when the Rector continues in a new position,” he says.

The terms and conditions of employment have been negotiated with the relevant professional organisation. In the Rector’s case, this is Foreningen af Speciallæger (FAS) [The Association of Medical Specialists]. DJØF [The Danish Association of Lawyers, Economists, Political and Social Scientists]. They estimate that approximately 2,000 executives employed by the Danish state have this type of fixed-term contract. This includes – the fact sheet states – prorector, the university director, deans, and department heads at the University of Copenhagen as well as other Danish universities.


In the new contractual period beginning 1 November 2013, Rector’s salary including fixed-term supplement and pension (17.1 per cent) will be DKK 1.74 million. Including pension, Rector’s current salary is DKK 1.98 million, the fact sheet states.

Employment on a fixed-term basis is used by the State to fill positions that are for a period fixed in advance. Reappointment for a new period may take place but only after a new job posting. After a new job posting and a new recruitment process, Ralf Hemmingsen has been hired for a period of three years.

According to the rules on fixed-term employment “it will typically be agreed that redundancy payment will be provided”, the fact sheet states.

Board: To avoid having to hire him permanently

In Rector’s case this means that on expiration of his new contract in February 2017, redundancy payment will again be paid in the amount of 3.5 months’ salary of the fixed-term position, as Rector has a fixed-term job-return position as a professor.

“There is no real alternative to this salary arrangement – the position of rector is a temporary position.”

“Otherwise, we would be hiring the rector permanently, and the Board does not desire this,” says Nils Strandberg Pedersen.


Readers in this and other media have been critical of Rector’s taking home redundancy /severance pay on top of his salary.

On Danish-language site a reader Christiane Præstgaard Christensen asks a rhetorical question: “Which part of the SEVERANCE pay is hard to understand?”

On, Lars Schöning makes a comparison with the wider European debate on capping executive bonuses: It “…sounds like an argument to copy the new laws that are just being implemented in Switzerland,” he writes.

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