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Jobs news in Denmark: Sick pay claims up and can foreigners fill the labour deficit?

Jobs news in Denmark: Sick pay claims up and can foreigners fill the labour deficit?
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash
The Local brings you a regular roundup of the latest jobs news and talking points related to working life in Denmark. This week we’re looking at topics including high employment nationally but a big name closing factories.

New record number of people in jobs  

New records for high employment and low unemployment seem to be set on a regular basis at the current time, and this week is no different.

For the seventh month in a row, the number of people in employment on the Danish labour market increased in July, according to figures from national agency Statistics Denmark.

The total number of wage earners increased by 7,000 giving a record-high total of 2.85 million people in work.

Additionally, numbers from the end of July show that 51,000 more people were in jobs compared to just before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The flip side of this, though is the increasing difficulty in filling vacancies, an issue numerous businesses and sectors have recently spoken up on.

We’ve looked at whether international workers could resolve this challenge for Danish companies – and the extent to which Denmark wants to bring in labour from abroad.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage? 

Wind turbine giant Vestas to close three factories

Wind turbine maker Vestas announced on Monday the closure of three of its sites in Europe, including one at Esbjerg in West Jutland.

The company is to stop its production at the Esbjerg facility, where 75 people are employed, as well as t two other of the company’s factories – in Lauchhammer, Germany and Viveiro, Spain. Those factories employ 460 and 115 people respectively.

Labour court sharpens tone towards striking nurses 

The drawn out dispute between nurses, their union DSR and the government is still showing little sign of being settles after the Arbejdsretten labour strengthened its demands that the nurses return to work.

On Thursday, the court again ordered nurses to return to work and underlined that strikes undertaken in the form of brief walkouts in recent weeks are not legal.

Under Denmark’s labour model, strikes are only legal if they have been signalled by unions as in connection with negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.

Recent weeks have seen nurses leave their posts at work for an hour at several hospitals. The nurses are standing against government-enforced pay and working conditions after rejecting a deal negotiated by their union with authorities earlier in the summer.

Union-sanctioned strikes by thousands of nurses took place throughout the summer, prior to the government intervention, but nurses are now being fined for the unsanctioned walk-out.

EXPLAINED: Why has the government intervened in Denmark’s nurses strike?

Sick pay claims increased during recent stages of coronavirus pandemic

More people in Denmark received sick pay in recent months as a result of an easing of rules due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from Statistics Denmark.

Spending on sick pay partially countered savings made by the state on unemployment benefits, with the number of unemployment benefit claimants steadily dropping.

During the second quarter of 2021, 86,700 people in Denmark received sick pay, a figure 19,100 – or 28 percent – higher than in the corresponding quarter last year.

The quarter prior to the coronavirus crisis – Q1 in 2020 – saw around 68,000 people receive statutory sick pay.

Did you know?

Self-employed and employed people alike can adjust their tax returns by logging in to the skat.dk website and entering the deductions on their forskudsopgørelse (preliminary tax return, prior to March) or årsopgørelse (annual return, calculated and displayed on the SKAT website at the beginning of March). The deadline for the latter falls in May each year.

Here’s our four ways to (legally) lower your tax bill in Denmark


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