A meaningful community

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A co m munity w ith meaning

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A MEANINGFUL COMMUNITY FRIE SKOLERS LÆRERFORENING THE TEACHERS’ UNION FOR DANISH INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS The Teachers’ Union for Danish Independent Schools (TUDIS) is the English name for Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL) Publisher: Frie Skolers Lærerforening Ravnsøvej 6, 8240 Risskov Illustrations: Rikke Bisgaard Frie Skolers Lærerforening © April 2014 Production: Zeuner Grafisk Print: 6000


Frie Skolers LÌrerforening (FSL) – a network for education professionals Every independent school, each class, whether large or small, has its teachers, pre-school teachers, school assistants, remedial teachers and others, who are dedicated to teaching, educating and forming children. FSL is a democratic community and professional network for everyone who works with teaching of any kind at independent primary schools and efterskoler. FSL is a non-profit, private service organization owned by its members, who determine its mission and work. FSL is a nonpartisan, independent trade union, which first and foremost works to ensure decent wages and working conditions in schools and concurrently supports and advises members on an individual basis. FSL is the only trade union that make contracts with independent primary schools and efterskoler on teachers’ work.

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What does a membership have to offer? As a member, you have access to professional consultancy based on your specific needs. FSL is familiar with the conditions in independent primary schools and efterskoler. Not just on the surface. We are familiar with them in detail, because we are the ones who have negotiated the collective bargaining agreement for independent schools, and we provide services to our members on a daily basis and continuously work to improve these conditions. FSL is the union for you and all of the other teachers, principals, pre-school teachers and school assistants at independent schools. You stand shoulder-to-shoulder together with your colleagues, and all have a say in decisions concerning wages and working conditions. Becoming a member of FSL is becoming a member of a professional community. You receive support and advice at the school you work at from a specially trained union representative. If your school does not have a union representative, you can instead obtain advice and support by contacting the union’s head office. From recruitment to retirement, you can always turn to the union’s head office and receive answers to your questions. You can log on to the FSL website, where you can find answers to an array of relevant questions.

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You will receive the members magazine Frie Skoler ('Independent Schools'). You can also use FSL to develop as a teacher, for example by taking advantage of our mentor arrangements, free courses, and participating in local district arrangements or continued education courses. As a FSL member, you can always and legal consultants, which, you with optimal arrangements This is true, whether you choose involuntarily have to stop

draw on the union’s expertise among other things, provide when leaving your job. to stop voluntarily, you because of illness or on account of disagreements with the school. On the following pages, you can read much more about what you can expect from FSL. 

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Making sure that your contract is ok As an employee at an independent school, you are entitled to a contract (ansættelsesbrev) that specifies your conditions of employment. It can be difficult to figure out whether the conditions described in your contract take into consideration situations that may possibly turn up. FSL has experience with assessing contracts and we want to make sure that your contract lives up to current collective bargaining agreement and legislation.

Every year more than 200 members receive advice from FSL in connection with a new job.

If changes take place at your job, we can help you figure out whether a new contract is in your interest. If you have never received a contract or it does not correspond to your actual working conditions, you should contact us immediately.

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Your payslip may be worth more than you think

It can be a good idea to check your payslip, as three examples illustrate: Four teachers received a total of DKK 400,000, because their school had not made the correct payments to their retirement plans.

Several times a day, FSL members call our office with questions regarding their payslips. Payslips can be difficult to understand, and complicated wage systems, various allowances and bonuses, seniority and pension plans don’t make them any easier. Obviously, you must receive what you are entitled to. And if you’re in doubt, you can, as a FSL member, call the office to get us to check your payslip. We are familiar with payroll and seniority rules and we are willing to contact your school or take up your case if you are not receiving the salary to which you are entitled.

11 efterskole teachers received a total of almost DKK 400,000, because their school had calculated their wages incorrectly. We discovered that 12 teachers at an independent school had logged 3563 hours of overtime over a 3-year period, when FSL’ consultants checked their working hours and local agreements.

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At the school Your union representative attends to your interests at your school. They have received comprehensive FSL training and have experience with every conceivable detail regarding the rules and legislation that are of significance to your life as a teacher. As a FSL member, the union representative is your representative partner at the school. As a member, both you and your union representative have influence on your working situation. Your union representative has the right to demand prompt negotiations, to be heard and to receive information from the school management regarding a number of areas.

At schools with at least five employees employed according to the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement, the employees have the right to elect a union representative. At schools with fewer employees - teachers can elect a union representative, if in agreement with the management.

Your union representative has been trained to ensure you and your colleagues results when negotiating local wage agreements.

At schools without a union representative

Your union representative helps ensure that the collective agreement and the local agreements are respected.

The vast majority of schools have a union representative, but if you are employed by a school without a union representative, you are always welcome to seek advice and counsel from the FSL office.

Your union representative is the FSL representative at your school.

Every year, FSL trains almost 100 new union representatives. FSL has almost 600 union representatives at roughly 500 independent primary schools and 250 efterskoler.

As a FSL member, you can log in to the FSL website and find answers to the vast majority of questions that might pop up.

Your union representative arranges meetings for the school’s FSL members, where issues, that are relevant for teachers and pre-school teachers at the school, are discussed. You need to be a member in order to participate and have influence in these meetings.

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Every year, FSL helps several hundred members draw up their maternity leave plans in order to ensure that maternity leave benefits are paid out correctly.

FSAL deals with roughly 125 social cases (illness, job retention) annually.

Expecting a baby or adopting a child

Employee development interviews (MUS)

If you are going to have a child, FSL can help you put together a total maternity leave plan for yourself and the child’s other parent. The other parent’s collective agreement has considerable bearing on your maternity leave. Your maternity leave is determined by a complicated combination of a number of different rules, as there are rules for maternity leave, unemployment insurance and possibly two different collective bargaining agreements to keep track of. Working together with you, FSL will draft a written maternity leave plan that you can give to to your school.

Employee development interviews (MUS) ought to be instruments you can use in a focused manner to develop your personal and professional skills. The union office can provide you with information and assistance to help you prepare for your interview and with what you ought to consider before, during and after your employee development interview.

If you fall ill

When you want to learn more

If you have problems keeping your job due to illness or if you are otherwise prevented in fully meeting your job requirements - we will help you.

As a member, you have the opportunity to participate in the union’s competence-developing courses and activities. For example:

We will assist you in communicating with your school and your municipality, and furthermore provide counsel helping you to find work tailored your capacity to work.

We provide advice about opportunities for rehabilitation, so-called 'flex work' and early retirement. We will examine all the relevant documents in your case. Once we have assessed the case, you will receive concrete advice regarding your rights and opportunities.

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FSL mini courses – free of charge, 2-hour courses focusing on issues relevant for teachers. Mentor arrangements for new employees at independent schools. The union’s free courses for members, with pedagogical content.

You can receive sparring and advice when planning continued education activities.

If you require guidance or counseling prior to an interview concerning absenteeism due to illness or a 'mulighedserklæring', you are always welcome to contact us to discuss your situation with one of our consultants.

In addition to the above, the district chapters arrange networking events about teaching and teaching policy.

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If you are injured If you suffer an injury at work, or if you suspect that a discomfort or illness is caused by your work, it is important that you contact the FSL office right away, so that we can advise you what to do. If we conclude that it is a work-related injury, we will help you as your case develops.

Almost 100 members receive help annually from FSL to receive compensation after an occupational injury. Examples of cases that have resulted in concrete returns for FSL members in the last school year (2012/2013):

Matters regarding compensation for occupational injuries are often complicated and difficult processes. The union’s consultants, lawyers and our partners can conduct complex cases with the National Board of Industrial Injuries (Arbejdsskadestyrelsen), ensuring that the case is dealt with correctly and argue for your right to compensation.

Putting the physical working environment on the agenda If teaching preparation takes place at the school, it is crucial that you have an appropriate workplace where you can prepare your work in peace and quiet. FSL works actively for teachers and pre-school workers who must do their classroom preparation at the school to have decent work stations that fulfil the statutory requirements. In addition to the physical conditions, noise, indoor climate and temperature conditions must also be in order. It is important that your working conditions do not have a negative impact on your health.

Every year, FSL trains working environment representatives in order to reinforce the efforts made to ensure a good working environment.

Should this be the case, you can receive advice and counsel from FSL.

DKK 520,209 in compensation for permanent injuries.

Getting the psychological working environment on the agenda Improving the psychological working environment has high priority, and the union provides advice and counsel towards preventive efforts and finding solutions if problems have developed within the working environment. As a FSL member, you can always contact the union for assistance if you experience problems with pressure at work, relationships with colleagues or the organisation of your work.

DKK 14,229,282 in compensation for lost earning capacity. DKK 962,570 to the survivors of FSL members.

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If you are fired If you receive a warning or if you are terminated, it is important that you contact the union immediately so that we can assess whether your termination meets the requirements in the collective agreement.

Every year 400 teachers and pre-school employees are laid off from independent schools.

A termination must be based on objective grounds and due notice must be given. If this is not the case, we can – on your behalf – contact the school. If it becomes necessary, we can take your case to the labour court system.

More than 100 members are affected by schools going bankrupt every year.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation or you are facing a dilemma at work, you can receive counsel regarding your rights and opportunities.

FSL obtains between DKK 15–20 million annually to members that have been unjustly fired.

When you resign Should you be interested in resigning your position, we can help and advice you to how vacation time, special holidays, your working hours and any overtime must be paid.

Nearly 120 members have their pension records prepared annually.

If you are approaching retirement, we provide advice regarding retirement options. As a member, you can always draw on the union’s expertise and legal consultants, who will ensure optimal arrangements when you leave your job. This applies if you have been fired, fall ill, or on account of disagreements with the school. Regardless of whether your pension is with Lærernes Pension, Efterlønskassen or Pensionskassen af 1925, we have consultants with detailed knowledge to assist you. This ensures that we can work together with you to obtain the best possible deal.

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FSL is in continuous dialogue with the Ministry of Education, Agency for the Modernisation of Public Administration, Danmarks Privatskoleforening (Denmark’s Private School Association), Dansk Friskoleforening (The Danish Independent Schools Association), Efterskoleforeningen (The Efterskole Association), Lilleskolerne (Association for Independent Primary Schools), Foreningen af Kristne Friskoler (Association of Christian Independent Schools) and many others. FSL has members representing all independent school types and is the only union representing all of the different types of schools.

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FSL and Christiansborg Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL) is in dialogue with politicians and interest groups in order to attend to your interests.

in connection with the teachers’ general demands in collective agreement negotiations and other issues relating to teachers’ general interests.

Many of the decisions that are of significance to your life as a teacher are made when FSL negotiates collective bargaining agreements (so-called OK-aftaler) for teachers every second or third year. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Between the periods of collective agreement negotiations, we engage in a targeted dialogue together with school organisations and politicians on all levels in order to defend the interests of the teachers and independent schools.

The schools area is divided in such a manner that if you are employed by a folkeskole, the conventional Danish public primary schools, you cannot receive help from FSL; correspondingly, if you are employed in an independent school, you cannot receive help from the Danish Union of Teachers (Danmarks Lærerforening - DLF).

FSL's mission is to engage in dialogue and participate in the public debate to ensure that politicians remember and understand the conditions of the independent schools when the national budget is negotiated each year, and when the independent schools are under political pressure from opponents of independent schools.

FSL and the other teachers’ organisations Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL) works closely together with the Danish Union of Teachers (Danmarks Lærerforening - DLF) and the education association in the Teachers’ Central Organisation (Lærernes Centralorganisation – LC). This is where the general lines are drawn

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You must therefore be aware if you come from a position in a folkeskole or elsewhere, that membership in the Danish Union of Teachers, The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs (Dansk Magisterforening) and others cannot be used when you are employed by an independent school. Only FSL can help you when you are employed at an independent primary school* or efterskole. Some of the employees at independent primary schools work both with the introduction to school (indskolingen) and in the school’s SFO (before- and after school programme) and are therefore covered by two different collective agreements: one with FSL and the other with BUPL (Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators). FSL and BUPL have therefore reached an agreement, that makes it possible to be a member of both organisations for the price of just one of them but with full membership rights in both organisations.

*with the exception of primary schools that are part of private 'gymnasiums' (gymnasier).

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Kreds 1

Map of Denmark showing the districts (kredse) Kreds 7

Kreds 2

Union life FSL has a lively "union life" in the union's eight regional districts and an individual national district for principals. The districts have a number of specific tasks in connection with the union’s operations, but they are also responsible for local arrangements with pedagogical or professional content.

Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL) has approx. 10.000 members.

The map shows which district your school belongs to. You belong to the district where your school lies – even if you reside in a different district.

Kreds 8 Kreds 3 Kreds 5 Kreds 7

The members choose committees and district chairpersons for the districts. The district chairpersons are automatically members of the union's main committee. The annual meeting of representatives (repræsentantskabsmøde), with roughly 275 delegates from the schools, is the union's highest authority.

Kreds 4 Kreds 6

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Types of schools in the independent school sector: • • • • •

Efterskoler (organized in Efterskoleforeningen) - approx. 250 Friskoler (usually organized in Dansk Friskoleforening) - 275 Private schools, realskoler, catholic schools, German minority schools (all usually organized in Danmarks Privatskoleforening) - 140 Lilleskoler (organized in Lilleskolernes Sammenslutning) - 60 Christian friskoler (organized in Foreningen af Kristne Friskoler) - 35

Become a member It is recommended, that you become a member of both a trade union and an unemployment fund. Membership of an unemployment fund entitles you to unemployment benefits, in case you loose your job. Contact the unemployment fund DLF-A, tel.no. 7010 0018 for more information about terms and price.

Send an e-mail to fsl@fsl.dk or a text message to 2126 2128. Or complete the online form at www.fsl.dk/medlem. If you are a principal or division manager, you sign up at www.frieskolersledere.dk Welcome to the Teachers' Union for Danish Independent Schools Ravnsøvej 6 • 8240 Risskov fsl@fsl.dk • www.fsl.dk T• 8746 9110

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Dear new member A teacher recently asked: »Why should I become a member of Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL)?«. I responded: »Because we’re experts in the conditions in independent schools. We’re the ones who negotiate your salary, working hours, pension plan, maternity leave plan, family/ care days and so very much more. You might also need our help in the case of workrelated crises«. And once I got started, I couldn’t stop, because I believe that it is so important that teachers at independent schools are members: »Frie Skolers Lærerforening (FSL) is constantly working to improve your wages and develop good conditions for your teaching. FSL is your opportunity for influence – in the union and at the schools – and to establish networks in which you can be inspired and encouraged when meeting other teachers from independent schools. You benefit from us and we benefit from you. Because we stand stronger the greater our number. So welcome to our community«.

Best Regards Uffe Rostrup Chairman