Today marks the end of another school year and for me, it marks the end of my 18th year as a public educator (whoa, that makes me sound old...)!
Anyway, the thing that I LIKE related to the fact that I moved to Denmark with 15 years of experience is that I actually received credit for my experience and my education. Had I come from the other direction (DK to Texas), I would have come in as a first year teacher (related to pay and benefits, etc) and would have received only what that "step" designated me to receive. However in Denmark, not only did I receive "credit" for my years of experience, but I was also given credit (monetary) for the various skills (referred to as competencies in Denmark) that I brought to our campus that were considered above and beyond the norm. What an amazing concept....
As someone who has always worked for a public entity (and never in private business), I was used to everyone being treated the same way, regardless of the extra expertise or knowledge that you possessed... however, in Denmark, even in the public sector, these skills are RECOGNIZED, APPRECIATED and REWARDED.... it is amazing.
There is something about the salary system in Denmark that frustrates me... in fact, I honestly do not understand it AT ALL.
As in the US, a part of our income taxes contribute to the welfare system to pay for those that are either already on pension or who are getting ready to retire. (like Social Security in the US).
The majority of people receive more than just the government's benefits when they retire because they have paid into a private retirement fund through their employer. And actually (like in the US), you need a private retirement fund above and beyond the government funds to actually have a chance of maintaining your standard of living after retirement. I pay into my gymnasie-lærere retirement fund here in Denmark (along with a very good contribution from the school) and so I have a security when I am ready to retire from teaching in Denmark. And this has NOTHING to do with whether I am a foreigner or a Dane.
HOWEVER.... if you are a foreigner, living and working in Denmark, you are not entitled to receive the full benefit of the funds you have paid into the state until after you have LIVED HERE FORTY YEARS. (yes, that says FORTY) It is actually a very, um, convenient mathematical formula to determine how you receive your funds... If you have lived here 1 year and paid your taxes, you get 1/40 of the benefits available.. after 2 years, you get 2/40, after 3 years, 3/40, etc... you get the picture.
So that means that if you are a foreigner, working for a company in DK that does not offer a very good private pension system, you are NEVER financially able to really retire because you cannot live on such small percentages..
I am 100% in support of folks paying into a system before they are able to reap its benefits, but I cannot fathom where they decided that FORTY was the magic number of years that a person should have to live here before being eligible for full benefits.....
I am sure there is WAY more to this than I have knowledge of, but what I do know is a definite DISLIKE.