Life as an international in Denmark, one of the world's most homogenous countries, isn't always easy. In Denmark’s longest-running English-language podcast, Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade, offers tips for enjoying your time in “the world’s happiest co… read more
When I first began working in Denmark, people used to start saying around April or May, “So – are you taking three or four?”
What they meant was, are you taking three or four weeks off for your summer vacation?
Now, in the United States, where I come from, even taking two weeks off is extravagant. You always have the feeling that if you’re gone too long, there may not be a job waiting for you when you get back.
In Denmark, a long summer vacation is legally required. If you have a full-time job, you get six weeks annual vacation, and you are legally required to take three of those six weeks sometime between May 1 and September 30.
Even if you’re unemployed, you get paid time off from looking for a job so you can enjoy time off in the summer. And there’s been a lot of controversy this year about whether the newly arrived refugees in Denmark should also get paid vacation from their required Danish language lessons.
Many Danes consider vacation to be a human right. Any discussion of poverty in Denmark is likely to include an interview with a person on the minimum kontanthjælp sincerely complaining about his inability to afford a vacation abroad. If you get sick during your vacation, you can even request more time off to compensate.
That’s the social welfare state – I hope you all enjoy paying taxes to support it.
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