Danish committee says nurses ’do not need’ higher salary

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish committee says nurses ’do not need’ higher salary
The conclusions of the public sector wage structure committee are presented by chairperson and economics professor Torben M. Andersen on Tuesday. The committee concluded nurses' wages in Denmark are in line with overall standards in the public sector. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Nurses are not among professional groups whose salaries should be increases, according to a committee appointed to analyse wages in the nursing sector.


The report by the committee, Lønkommitéen (“The Wage Committee”) was presented at a press briefing in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

The committee said it had concluded that not only are nurses paid enough, but that they actually earn slightly more than they should relative to their management responsibilities, educational background and labour market experience.

A key element in the committee’s conclusion is that a so-called genetillæg or “inconvenience supplement”, paid to nurses to compensate for their obligations to work at nights and on weekends, takes their pay over the expected level relative to their qualifications and responsibilities.

The wages of a number of other professions, including childcare staff, junior doctors, cleaners and IT workers were also scrutinised by the committee, but its conclusion on nurses is likely to elicit the most debate.

The committee was appointed by the previous government in October 2021, in the wake of a major strike and labour dispute involving nurses that summer. It was led by Aarhus University Professor of Economics Torben M. Andersen.


The current government pledged in its December 2022 policy platform to negotiate a significant pay rise for nurses in the coming years. That came after the initial scheduled completion of the committee’s report in late 2022 was delayed due to the general election last November.

The trade union for nurses in Denmark, DSR, criticised the committee’s conclusion on Tuesday.

The “inconvenience supplement” should not be counted as part of the regular wage for nurses, DSR chairperson Grete Christensen argued in comments to broadcaster DR.

“The report compares in general the wages of staff who work unusual hours with those who exclusively work during the day on weekdays. We don’t think that’s a comparison on equal terms,” Christensen said.

Nurses in Denmark earn an average of 257.6 kroner per hour when employed in the public sector, according to figures used in the report drawn from national database Statistics Denmark.

That is a fraction below the average for the public sector of 258 kroner per hour.


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