Social benefits for atypical employees – University of Copenhagen

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14 May 2018

Social benefits for atypical employees

The report ‘Hybrid work – social protection of atypical work in Denmark’ includes the answers to a questionnaire about cash-related social protection in Denmark for so-called ‘atypical’ employment. It contains questions about social benefits risks related to unemployment, sickness/accidents at work, disability, parenthood and old age.

The report summarizes the general trends of social protection in Denmark as : 1) Benefits are increasingly dependent on earnings, employment status and collective bargaining coverage. 2) Development of greater diversity in types and the levels of benefits. 3) The ‘make work pay’ approach has spread, sometimes combined with a stronger focus on activation. 4) Stricter entitlement rules and other ‘barriers to benefits’, with the risk of parenthood as an exception. 5) An emergent focus on atypical workers.  

The five trends affect different groups of employees to varying degrees and in some instances contribute to addressing the challenges they face with regard to accessing social protection, whilst in other instances enhancing such risks. The groups particularly at risk are those working on the margins of the labour market as well as workers which do not have full-time job positions. They include solo self-employed, marginal part-time workers, temporary agency workers, fixed-term workers along with the newly emergent employment forms such as digital platforms workers and zero-hour contract employees. They all face challenges with regards to social protection. The fact that benefits are increasingly related to earnings, employment record and collective bargaining coverage makes it more difficult for employees which does not have full-time permanent contracts to gain access to full social protection.

The social partners response have in some instances compensated for the emerging social protection gaps created by rollback in legislative social protection. At the same time, the inclusion of social benefits into their collective agreements also poses some challenges in terms of social protection for Danish citizens, as collective agreed social benefits only apply to employees covered by collective agreements.

Read the full report ‘Hybrid work – social protection of atypical work in Denmark’