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Danish flexicurity: what’s in it for you as an employee

In Denmark, companies can easily hire and fire to adjust to ever-changing market conditions. But employees are not left to fend for themselves: a well-knit safety net ensures a smooth transition to the next job. That’s the perks of a flexicurity model.

Understanding the flexicurity model

The Danish employment system is built around the so-called flexicurity model which combines flexibility and security.

The model is rooted in a mutually beneficial employment system that employers and trade unions agreed upon more than a century ago to ensure a profitable and secure state. Acknowledging their conflicting interests, they made it a fundamental right for unions to conclude collective agreements to determine wages and working conditions on behalf of the employees. At the same time, they recognised the need for employers to reconfigure the workforce to adapt to changing market conditions.

In the Danish model, state interference is kept to a minimum, with the state’s primary role to secure an active labour market and get unemployed people back to work as quickly as possible. That is, offering training, assistance in the job search process, wage subsidies, and support to micro-entrepreneurs or independent workers.

No state regulations means, for instance, that there is no legal minimum wage in Denmark. Instead, the relatively high wages are set as part of the regular negotiations between the employers and trade unions. Strikes are uncommon in Denmark, because both sides have agreed on the overall terms and conditions. Dialogue and collaboration are key to the success of this model.

A golden mix of rights and obligations

Today, the Danish model is often described as a ‘golden triangle’ with

  1. flexibility in the labour market: employers can easily hire and dismiss employees, with low costs and few litigations around dismissals
  2. social security: employees who pay into an insurance fund will get up to two years’ unemployment benefits after losing their jobs
  3. an active labour market policy with rights and obligations for the unemployed: (re)training, company internships, and an obligation to apply to relevant jobs when receiving welfare benefits are all tools to help keep people active in the labour market.

Flexicurity for internationals

With only a few exceptions, internationals working in Denmark are eligible to the same rights and obligations as Danish citizens – whether or not a member of a union.

As an employee, you can feel confident that if you lose one job, another one is likely to arise. Especially since employers are more willing to take a chance on someone, when hiring and firing is connected with a high degree of flexibility. But most importantly, the flexicurity system can provide you with enough peace of mind to seek new opportunities. That’s why Denmark is a great place not just to get an exciting job, but to build a whole career.

If that sounds like an environment you want to pursue your career in, take a look at open positions in Central Denmark: