18 December 2014

Bargaining for Social Rights in Sectors (BARSORIS) – National Report Denmark

Research paper by Trine P. Larsen and Mikkel Mailand

A wide range of employment types coexist alongside the traditional full-time open-ended contract in the Danish labour market. Whilst some employment types, such as part-time work and temporary agency work (TAW), have become more common in recent years, others, such as fixed-term contracts and self-employment have remained relatively stable. 28 percent of the workforce is estimated to hold an employment contract that no longer reflects the traditional full-time permanent position. Although Danish legislation and collective agreements, in principle and in most cases, ensure these workers similar rights as comparable employees in permanent full-time positions, some groups may de facto face a greater risk of precariousness.

Danish social partners rarely use the terms ‘precarious’ and ‘atypical worker’. In fact, these terms are highly disputed among social partners in Denmark, and no consensus exists as to which groups of employees can be considered precarious. In this report, and in accordance with the focus of the whole research project, ‘precariousness’ refers to employment with a low level of wages, a low level of job security, a low level of social security (incl. unemployment benefits and pensions), involuntary and short working hours, a lack of ‘voice’ and workload challenges. It is important to emphasise that we do not have a strict definition of job precariousness. Instead, in this study we will discuss to what extent the job includes problems or risks of precariousness. Moreover, it is important to note that not all forms of employment that deviate from the traditional full-time open-ended contract should or can be considered precarious. Indeed, it depends on the circumstances and varies across countries and sectors. Employment types other than the traditional full-time permanent position can in many cases meet both employers’ and employees’ demands for flexibility and provide sufficient income and acceptable wages and working conditions. Such types of employment can also be a stepping-stone to open-ended  fulltime contracts in the labour market. Furthermore, a full-time permanent position is no guarantee of protection from the challenges of precariousness. 

The research paper constitutes the Danish national report in the international research project ‘BARSORIS: Bargaining for Social Rights at Sector Level’. The project has been financed by EU, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Social Dialogue, Industrial Relations (Agreement number. VS/2013/0403).

Read research paper (pdf)

Read the report and/or download the single country reports on the homepage of Amsterdam Institute for advanced Labour Studies' (AIAS)