Job contract

KU Contract
KU Contract

So, after 4 months, I have finally got my contract at KU.

Wait, did you say that you just got your contract?

Why, yes I did.

After 4 months?

Yes.

So you’re finally getting paid now?

No. I have been getting my salary since my first month here.

That’s bizarre!

Yes. I guess that just shows how trusting Danes are.

That is unheard of in Australia… at least as far as foreigners are concerned.

That’s right. In Australia, you need to have a contract before you can even apply for your work visa to enter the country. And speaking of work permit, in Denmark, you are free to enter the country as a tourist and then apply for a work permit once you are in. As for me, I got my work permit sorted out before I even landed on Danish soil.

So how come it took a long time for you to get your contract?

Well, my contract was only processed when I arrived in late May. It took some time to process because the HR person has to go through my education and work history to assign the correct amount for my salary. Also, when I arrived, it was the beginning of summer, so a lot of people were away for summer vacation.

I see…

Actually, there’s more to it than that. I only got my contract because we stumbled into it accidentally.

Accidentally? What do you mean?

Well, I went to a workshop in Germany. So I wanted to lodge a travel expense claim form. I needed to know where my funding comes from. So the group administrator tried to look for it in my folder, and she came across my contract!

That was lucky.

The funny thing is, it was dated the end of June!

Wait a minute… so the contract was actually ready for 3 months?

Yes. It was actually sent to my previous address! I moved out from my old place at the end of June. I didn’t get a mail redirection because I wasn’t expecting to get any snail mail. I was expecting the contract to be sent electronically.

Ah, so that was your fault.

Hmm… I guess so. But it all worked out in the end. I signed it, despite the contract saying “return within 14 days”. The International HR staff just laughed it off. Like I said, Danes a pretty relaxed about this kind of things.

Well, all’s well that ends well, I guess!

Yes, I agree completely.

More impressions of Copenhagen

After a few weeks in Copenhagen, here are some more impressions:

  • When I first arrived, I could not find an equivalent of Target or Myer. Every supermarket has the same layout and the same bunch of stuff. I spent ages trying (and failing!) to find scouer and air freshener. But recently, I found one candidate that is kinda like Target: Føtex.
  • CPR is paramount. Getting it the first time around requires you to have at least a month contract on accommodation. Without it, you cannot do anything else. However, once you get it, it was easy (and possible) to do a lot of things, including lodging your change-of-address in advance.
  • Accommodation is definitely very difficult. I had a chat with several people, and they all got their first accommodation via friends of friends. I also found that even if you move 20 minutes away by train, they are still extremely expensive!
  • Water doesn’t taste good at all due to the incredibly high mineral content.
  • Contract is dependent on your past experience, so will take some time to process. More about this in my future post.
  • Science is well supported in Denmark. There are plenty of incentives for foreigners to come and do science here. For example, there is a ridiculously good tax scheme for researchers where instead of the usual 40-55% rate, you are taxed at 26% (plus 8% “labour market contribution). The caveat is, there is no possibility of a tax deduction.
  • There is also a new scheme where if you are only in Denmark for a short period of time, you can ask for your pension (superannuation) to be paid as part of your salary. If you are on the researcher tax scheme, this means the salary top-up will also be taxed at 26(+8)%. The alternative is to get the pension back when you leave the country, which will incur the full 40-55% tax.