Morning Briefing – Thursday, September 5

The Copenhagen Post’s daily round-up of the front pages and other major Danish news stories

Forced paternity leave no solution
Setting aside 12 weeks of paternity leave for men will not be enough to encourage new fathers to take more time off work in connection with their children’s birth, according to the employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne). Her comments came the same day as the government announced it would not pursue its goal of earmarking more of the 52-week paid paternity leave period for men. Currently two weeks are reserved for men, but Frederiksen said families’ financial realities make it difficult for some men to take leave and the government fears that if new fathers don't take the earmarked leave, the parents' combined time off to care for their new child will be shorter. Instead the government said men who take more than six weeks of leave will receive 100 kroner a day, tax-free, for up to six additional weeks. – DR Nyheder

“Disappointing” paternity about face
Unions say they are disappointed by the government’s decision not to pursue legislation that would earmark 12 weeks of paternity leave for fathers. Unions said they had documentation that went against the government arguments that fathers were unlikely take the full amount of leave available to them. The employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne), announced yesterday that despite her long-time support for the measure, the government had decided that the current regulations allowing parents to spilt most of the 52 week paid paternity period was best for children, since fathers were less likely to take leave than mothers. The decision by the government also led to criticism from leading MPs within each of the three parties making up the coalition. – Politiken

SEE RELATED: Government backs off paternity leave promise

Minority students of a feather learning together
As the number of minorities attending upper-secondary school has more than doubled in the past decade, so too has the number of schools with a disproportionately high number of minority students. Minorities now make up 9.3 percent of gymnasium students, but at some schools they make up a third of the student body. Headmasters said the trend was due to students applying to schools that have a high number of students with backgrounds similar to their own. Teachers and education experts underscored that the development was not a problem for education, but it did require a different approach to teaching than in schools with a higher proportion of ethnic Danes. – Jyllands-Posten

SEE RELATED: Minority children poor at reading, study reveals  

Little support for lower apprentice pay
The libertarian Liberal Alliance party suggests slashing the minimum wage for apprentices as a way to encourage more companies to take on trainees. The current starting monthly pay for apprentices is 10,000 kroner. Liberal Alliance pointed to reports that it costs companies twice as much to hire apprentices as it does in Germany and Austria. Some 13,000 vocational students lack an apprenticeship and studies have shown this is one of the main reasons why students drop out of vocational school. The proposal was rejected by Liberal Alliance’s allies as well as employers and unions. Business lobby Dansk Industri said most of its companies do not have enough work at the moment to give apprentices meaningful tasks. – Jyllands-Posten

SEE RELATED: Internships keep young people out of crime

Execs: wake up and smell the competition
Danish executives working abroad say the government needs to do redouble its efforts to improve competitiveness in order to meet the challenges posed by emerging economies. The executives said that neither the public nor lawmakers were aware of the seriousness of the challenge. Despite their support for the Danish welfare state, the executives felt too little was being done for businesses. Some companies, such as kitchenware producer Bodum, said that even though it planned to move some manufacturing back to Europe, it was not considering returning to Denmark. “In Denmark wages are too high,” Jørgen Bodum, the company’s managing director, said. – Børsen

SEE RELATED: Profit over patriotism

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  • Three new countries recognise Palestine as an independent state – Denmark holds back

    Three new countries recognise Palestine as an independent state – Denmark holds back

    Norway, Spain and Ireland have announced that they will formally recognise Palestine as a state. A furious Israel has recalled its envoys from Dublin, Oslo and Madrid for emergency consultations. Denmark says it will only recognise Palestine under a two-state solution.

  • Digitization is the secret ingredient in Chinese restaurateur’s growth adventure

    Digitization is the secret ingredient in Chinese restaurateur’s growth adventure

    Publisher Jesper Skeel and Korean BBQ restaurant chain owner Zen discuss the ups and downs of independent entrepreneurship and how to crack the Copenhagen market, from both an international and Danish perspective.

  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrations divide Copenhagen society

    Pro-Palestinian demonstrations divide Copenhagen society

    As popular protests of the Israeli offensive in Gaza erupt around the world and in the media, from university campuses to the streets of major cities, discord is escalating between demonstrators, the general public, authorities and politicians.

  • Huge fire at Novo Nordisk – building “cannot be saved”

    Huge fire at Novo Nordisk – building “cannot be saved”

    A fire broke out at a Novo Nordisk site in Bagsværd on Wednesday morning. There have been no casualties, but the fire is “extensive and spreading”, and Novo’s administrative building “cannot be saved” say emergency services.

  • Denmark leads 15 member states in call to outsource EU migration policy

    Denmark leads 15 member states in call to outsource EU migration policy

    Just one day after the EU finally landed its New Pact on Migration and Asylum following four years of tough negotiations, a group of 15 member states, led by Denmark, issued a joint call for greater efforts to outsource migration policy and  prevent migrants from arriving at EU borders in the first place.

  • How to lead Danes IV – Cultural Bypassing

    How to lead Danes IV – Cultural Bypassing

    Many of us Danes, despite being well-educated and well-travelled, often lack experience in navigating cultural differences at work. This can lead to ‘cultural bypassing’, where we believe we are at a level of enlightenment where we no longer are burdened by the risk of making cross-cultural mistakes. As their manager, you can help your Danish colleagues by acknowledging cultural differences in the workplace.