by Julie Norstrand
October 2010—Despite the recent economic downturn, employment policies contribute to Denmark’s consistently high employee job satisfaction and favorable market outcomes, compared to other countries, according to a new analysis by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work. Denmark also boasts some of the highest workplace participation rates of all OECD countries for older men and women.
Flexicurity, a concept incorporating flexibility, security and active labor policies, is the predominate model in Denmark’s employment policies and has been a large contributor to its success.
- There is no statutory minimum wage; pay is determined by collective agreements (as are work time and working conditions.
- The Danish workplace adheres to a “learning economy” model in which employees, especially older workers, are constantly receiving new training in order to keep up with rapidly changing technology.
- Job-sharing, called Flex jobs, rose significantly in 2009 to reduce unemployment resulting from the economic recession. Flex jobs policies include reduced work hours, adapted working conditions, and restricted job demands.
- Approximately 90% of the workforce was covered by unemployment insurance in 2008. Unemployment benefits can be paid up to 90% of the worker’s previous work income and can be collected for a maximum of 4 years.
Denmark’s small population, ethnic homogeneity, and egalitarian society make the Flexicurity model possible.
However, ageism has surfaced as the workforce begins to age and as immigrants seem to fare better than natives in the increasingly competitive job market.