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Wide support for early retirement and flexjob reform

| Text: Marie Preisler

There’s an increased drive in Denmark to stop young people ending up in benefit traps. Meanwhile there are cuts in subsidies to the flexjob scheme and early retirement.

The Social Democrat-led Danish government has tabled its first major labour market reform, with a suggested 1.4bn DKK (€188m) investment in interdisciplinary rehabilitation teams in all municipalities. These will work to stop young people with few resources from ending up in early retirement. At the same time the reform includes cuts to public spending on early retirement and to the flexjob scheme, amounting to annual savings of 1.9bn DKK (€255m).

Soon after presenting its reform, the government started negotiations with the political parties to secure parliamentary support. Early reaction from the opposition, trade unions and the Confederation of Danish Industry indicates a wide agreement could be achieved. 

The Danish Association of Social Workers has also praised the proposal from Minister for Social Affairs Karen Hækkerup (Social Democrats) and Minister of Employment Mette Frederiksen (Social Democrats). Yet there is criticism from trade unions and handicap organisations of the plans for cuts to people in flexjobs.

The reform is really breaking new ground with the so-called rehab-teams in all municipalities. They will work across administrations and - the government promises - without ‘silo thinking’ on how to reduce the number of vulnerable young people who fall outside of the labour market by being granted early retirement at an early age. 

The reform also means the government is now more likely to allow municipalities to keep their responsibility for employment services. So far trade unions and the Social Democrats have wanted to move this responsibility from municipalities back to unemployment benefit funds, who did have the responsibility before the municipal reform. 



The reform's content:

Total cost 3.3bn DKK (€444m): 

1.4bn DKK (€188m) for so-called resource processes

1.9bn DKK (€255m) to improve public finances.


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