What makes Denmark happy is, not so much the product (which is important of course) but the PROCESS (I will use capitals to emphasise important points).
Addressing the five reasons in the picture
1. There is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark. Rates of pay for manual workers and salaried work are established by COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS.
a. Over 65% of Danish employees are members of a trade union.
b. The COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are negotiated by these unions, covering effectively 80-90% of Danish workers.
c. An agreement may determine the actual rate of pay or minimum wage at industrial level. The standard wage varies by age (different wage rates for workers over and under 18 years), experience (higher wages for more experienced workers), qualifications or performance and work severity.
d. Although Denmark has no official minimum wage the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS often determine a de facto minimum wage for different workers, and THIS IS RENEGOTIATED EVERY 2 OR 3 YEARS.
e. These COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS are recognised by all (including the courts) as sacrosanct. In any dispute, the first question is, “What does the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT say on this matter?”
f. The AVERAGE MINIMUM WAGE is 28.6426 AUD
2. Full time is usually 37 hours a week, but it is allowed to NEGOTIATE a higher number of hours.
3. If you have the academic qualifications (that is, passed the Student exam with sufficiently high scores), then UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS FREE.
a. Students can also receive a small grant based upon their home and family circumstances. This is reduced in relation to their parents or their own income. Most students have a part-time job.
b. The normal time for a University education is 5 years, when students who pass their exams are awarded a Master’s degree.
c. A bachelor degree, which can be awarded after 3 years study, is not considered by the civil services or private industry, as a completed academic education.
4. CHILDCARE IS NOT FREE IN DENMARK.
a. Childcare monthly rates in Copenhagen for 2016: Nursery 718.071 AUD. with lunch / 599.292 AUD without lunch. Kindergarten 530.013 AUD. with lunch / 397.158 AUD without lunch.
b. However, every parent is guaranteed a child-care place in a local authority institution from the child’s 6th month.
c. Both parents have the right to take maternity leave. They divide and share this time. The present maternity leave is 52 weeks after the child’s birth. On maternity leave, they receive the equivalent of “sick pay”. This can vary, depending on the COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT in their sector, between 100% and 50% of their normal wage.
i. THEIR JOB MUST BE AVAILABLE WHEN THEY RETURN. In other words, the employer can only employ a contracted worker as a replacement. The agreed length of the maternity leave will determine the limits of this contract.
5. HEALTH CARE IS FREE. There are some exceptions: Prescription charges and some dental care are but two of the few. However if you are on a low income or a pensioner, you can receive a financial subsidy.
The fundamental five IMPORTANT reasons
- Danes are educated to negotiate.
- The consensus is that the “social-security net” is as essential as any other form of insurance..
- The consensus is that the National Health Service is as sacred as any other form of insurance.
- The consensus is that education should be free as it is a vital form of insurance for the future.
- The consensus is the Dane will pay up to 50%, and more, in income tax, to pay for these freedoms – and insurance policies.
One final point: the word SOLIDARITY is the basis of most Danes assessment of their national responsibilities.