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News 2021

Should employees be compensated for working from home?

The Norwegian government is recommending that everyone who is able to, should work from home. The working environment act must be updated, argue labour market organisations.

Should employees be compensated for working from home? - Read More…

Danish immigration hardliner faces impeachment trial

In what is only the second time in 100 years, a Danish parliamentarian is being impeached.

Danish immigration hardliner faces impeachment trial - Read More…

Portugal and Finland head Councils of Ministers

The Corona pandemic has demonstrated that good cooperation is not only desirable but literally vital, says the programme for Finland’s 2021 Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. At the same time, Portugal heads the Council of the European Union where the creation of a European health union will be a key issue.

Portugal and Finland head Councils of Ministers - Read More…

Iceland: Immigrants are better protected, says MIPEX

Sweden is still top, but Iceland saw the greatest increase in the 2020 MIPEX migrant integration policy index. The country’s index rose by seven points from 49 to 56 between 2014 and 2019, on a scale of 100. Sweden got 86 points, down one.

Iceland: Immigrants are better protected, says MIPEX - Read More…

More Nordic people wanted to become Norwegian in 2020

2020 saw a tenfold increase in the number of citizens from other Nordic countries gaining Norwegian citizenship. From 1 January that year, it became possible to hold dual citizenships in Norway. 1,905 people applied to become Norwegian citizens while keeping their old citizenship.

More Nordic people wanted to become Norwegian in 2020 - Read More…

How have the Nordics managed the Corona crisis so far?

The Nordic countries have dealt with the economic crisis caused by the Corona pandemic in similar ways. As a result, unemployment is now falling back to more normal levels. A report from the Danish Technological Institute on commission from the Nordic Council of Ministers argues it is time to adjust the support measures.

How have the Nordics managed the Corona crisis so far? - Read More…

Women’s pay increases, men win at lifetime earnings

Swedish women's income averages 77.7% of that of men’s over a lifetime of work. This has not changed since 1995 and represents 3.2 million kronor (€319,000) on average. And government agencies contribute to this development concludes the Commission for gender-equal lifetime earnings in its first report.

Women’s pay increases, men win at lifetime earnings - Read More…

Is Denmark's proposed refugee legislation unrealistic?

Denmark’s government has presented legislation that represents a first step towards realising a controversial election promise to set up reception centres in countries outside the EU. Refugees would stay there while their asylum applications are processed in Denmark. Critics doubt the proposed legislation is realistic.

Is Denmark's proposed refugee legislation unrealistic? - Read More…

EU Court: Equal treatment for all, also among minorities

Can it be discrimination if an employer favours one person over another if both have some sort of disability? Yes, says the EU Court of Justice in a new ruling. The ban against discrimination does not apply only in relation to persons who are not disabled.

EU Court: Equal treatment for all, also among minorities - Read More…

International cooperation key to effective digitalisation

The Nordics are accelerating the digitalisation of society at least as fast as the rest of Europe. That brings advantages and challenges, according to Nordic and EU politicians who met for a webinar on digitalisation in early March.

International cooperation key to effective digitalisation - Read More…

Nordic equality: small annual changes but a long-term revolution

2020 became a bit of a gap year for gender equality, according to the Nordic Labour Journal barometer. It measures whether 24 positions of power in each of the Nordic countries are being held by a woman or man on 8 March. Like last year, women got 83 points. 100 points equals total equality.

Nordic equality: small annual changes but a long-term revolution - Read More…

LGBTI certification – more than a rainbow flag outside the building

Insecurity can stifle conversations about LGBTI – better to say nothing than risk choosing the wrong word. At Dunker Culture House in Helsingborg, knowledge gained from certification has had a positive effect on both visitors and the work environment. It has also increased self-confidence among staff.

LGBTI certification – more than a rainbow flag outside the building - Read More…

No Swedish OECD head – controversial Australian wins

Australian Mathias Cormann is the OECD’s new Secretary-General after beating Swedish candidate Cecilia Malmström. It has been 14 years since a new leader was elected for the organisation, which is made up of 37 industrialised countries.

No Swedish OECD head – controversial Australian wins - Read More…

Minimum wages: ball back in EU Commission's court

The EU can adopt the European Commission’s proposed directive on minimum wages – as long as one article is deleted or changed. That was the answer from the Council of Ministers’ legal service after the Danish government requested a statement. The question now is what will be the Commission’s next step.

Minimum wages: ball back in EU Commission's court - Read More…

Global initiative to strengthen social dialogue

The Corona pandemic has shown the importance of making quick decisions – but these also need public support. That is why social dialogue is so important. Global Deal, launched by Sweden together with the OECD and the ILO, is one of the few initiatives looking at social dialogue from an international perspective.

Global initiative to strengthen social dialogue - Read More…

Norway: women engineers on the rise

Ingvild Wang (24) has a master of technology from Norway’s University of Science and Technology, NTNU. She believes role models and equal education opportunities have led to a good proportion of women among young engineers.

Norway: women engineers on the rise - Read More…

More women in STEM jobs would benefit all of society

Could education or jobs be to blame for women and girls not choosing science, technology, engineering or mathematics – known as STEM – occupations? Or is it the women and girls themselves who need to change?

More women in STEM jobs would benefit all of society - Read More…

Finland and Sweden: one year, two cities, one closed border

In Sweden, the talk was about Finland “closing the border to Sweden”. In Finland, it was called “necessary domestic border controls”. It has been more than a year since the Corona pandemic changed everyday life in the most integrated region of the Nordics – the twin cities of Tornio and Haparanda.

Finland and Sweden: one year, two cities, one closed border - Read More…

Future Nordic mobility depends on crisis cooperation

Increased Nordic cooperation is needed before Nordic citizens can regain pre-Corona levels of confidence to apply for jobs, study or buy second homes in a different Nordic country. That was the message at a conference on border obstacles on Nordic Day 2021.

Future Nordic mobility depends on crisis cooperation - Read More…

The Nordics – a family in need of therapy?

The pandemic has challenged both the Nordic cooperation and trust between Nordic citizens. But many of the challenges ahead call for joint action on climate, welfare and sustainable development. The Nordic cooperation is deadly necessary, underlines Finland, which holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021.

The Nordics – a family in need of therapy? - Read More…

Nordic inspiration behind new EU directive

Yet another EU directive dealing with wages is in the pipeline. This time it is about pay transparency and the aim is to improve compliance with the principles of equal pay for men and women. The proposal is said to be inspired by good experiences from Denmark and Sweden, but differs quite a bit from what is common practice in those countries.

Nordic inspiration behind new EU directive - Read More…

Greenland chooses new government in protest against controversial mining

Greenland’s natural resource fairytale must not come at the expense of Greenlanders’ health, welfare and job opportunities. That was the clear signal from voters as they went to the polls to on 6 April 2021 and got a new coalition government.

Greenland chooses new government in protest against controversial mining - Read More…

Disability in the workplace: More than new technology is needed

Can new technology, and mainly digitalisation, help people with disabilities do better in the labour market? A new report from the Nordic Welfare Centre is not optimistic.

Disability in the workplace: More than new technology is needed - Read More…

Sexual harassment: new knowledge needed

Sexual harassment in the care sector has had less attention than harassment in other sectors. Patients behaving inappropriately is often seen as part of the job. “High tolerance levels represent a problem,” says Bryndis Elfa Valdemarsdottir, who has been heading the Icelandic part of a Nordic project looking at this problem.

Sexual harassment: new knowledge needed - Read More…

Will English become the new Nordic language of cooperation?

Which language should the Nordic region choose for its future cooperation? The common Scandinavian which is spoken by three-quarters of the Nordic population? Or do we take the consequences of an ever decreasing understanding of languages and turn to English? Is the Nordic identity at all built on a common language?

Will English become the new Nordic language of cooperation? - Read More…

The social pillar strengthened after EU Porto summit

The EU’s informal summit in Porto, Portugal, on 7 - 8 May ended in a declaration which strengthens the social pillar’s importance in the Union. To the relief of Nordic member states, the introduction of statutory minimum wages was not mentioned in the final document.

The social pillar strengthened after EU Porto summit - Read More…

Workplace battlegrounds: Are Norwegian employees being criminalised?

How should an employer handle workplace conflicts? In Norway, it is becoming increasingly common to hire external consultants to perform a “faktaundersøkelse” – or workplace investigation. The consultants often come from a legal or psychological background. Employees risk being exposed to situations resembling police interrogations – yet with no legal protection, warn researchers Bitten Nordrik and Tereza Østbø Kuldova.

Workplace battlegrounds: Are Norwegian employees being criminalised? - Read More…

The Intensive Year: 12 months to find jobs for Swedish immigrants

The Helsingborg employment service got ready as soon as the government announced its decision, and was prepared when the Intensive Year was launched on 15 April this year. One month later, 40 job seekers have been contacted. One of them is Mehmet.

The Intensive Year: 12 months to find jobs for Swedish immigrants - Read More…

Nordic youths want to learn more about work environments

A Nordic project could help young people learn more about work environments, starting in elementary school. The Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise is preparing a module for 13 to 18-year-olds to improve their work environment knowledge, and the hope is to spread this across the Nordics.

Nordic youths want to learn more about work environments - Read More…

Nordic model well suited for future of work challenges

Nordic labour ministers met digitally on 2 June to discuss the final report from the Nordic research project on the future of work. It warns of challenges to the Nordic model, but also concludes it is the best tool in the fight against an unequal labour market.

Nordic model well suited for future of work challenges - Read More…

100 years of autonomy: Åland celebrates

Åland is marking 100 years of autonomy from Finland with year-long celebrations. Not everyone wanted the autonomy solution at first, but it has turned out to be a winning ticket allowing Ålanders to create a prosperous island society. Yet Åland with its shipping and tourism industries has been hard hit by the pandemic.

100 years of autonomy: Åland celebrates - Read More…

Future funding of geological research not so rock-solid

The Nordic Volcanological Centre (NordVulk) has secured scholarships for many Nordic geologists to study or do research in Iceland. They have been able to study lava of various ages and, with luck, witness a volcanic eruption. But now NordVulk's funding is no longer rock-solid.

Future funding of geological research not so rock-solid - Read More…

Cash benefit reform to fight child poverty in Denmark

The safety net for Denmark’s poorest – cash benefits – should be completely reformed, argues a government commission. It proposes support for leisure activities for children in poor families and the opportunity for people to do some work without losing access to cash benefits.

Cash benefit reform to fight child poverty in Denmark - Read More…

Call for joint Nordic sanctions against countries behind cyber attacks

Nordic countries’ cybersecurity skills are improving, but what happens when an attacking country is identified? On 30 June, the Nordic Council will debate proposed joint Nordic sanctions in the case of cyberattacks. The proposal already has support among Norwegian researchers.

Call for joint Nordic sanctions against countries behind cyber attacks - Read More…

Will Sweden's new Employment Act fall foul of government crisis?

In early June the Swedish government presented its contribution to a reform of the Employment Act and added 11 billion kronor a year to cover retraining and studies. Then the government crisis happened and the question now is what will become of the difficult labour protection issue.

Will Sweden's new Employment Act fall foul of government crisis? - Read More…

Gathering around the kitchen table

The huge increase in remote work during the pandemic became a challenge for families where several people needed a workplace or place to study at home. Surprisingly, the length of people’s ordinary commute and the size of their homes are not factors that impact much on their desire to work from home. Something else means much more.

Gathering around the kitchen table - Read More…

Denmark's stricter requirements cut refugee employment rates

A tougher immigration policy in Denmark has had the exact opposite effect of what it intended to have, a new analysis shows.

Denmark's stricter requirements cut refugee employment rates - Read More…

The Swedish model entering a new era: more power to central organisations

It has been described as a victory for the Swedish model. Yet the employment act reform now being proposed by the Swedish government is in reality a structural shift where central labour market organisations will gain greater power at the expense of their affiliated unions. It also changes the division of responsibilities between the state and the social partners, on which the Swedish model is based.

The Swedish model entering a new era: more power to central organisations - Read More…

Many Norwegian nurses are planning their escape

Heavy workloads, poor working conditions, low pay and a feeling of not being appreciated means seven in ten nurses in Norway have considered leaving over the past 12 months.

Many Norwegian nurses are planning their escape - Read More…

Nordic vision zero for workplace accidents inspires world congress

The Nordics have considerable influence in the international debate on work environments. That was also evident during the 22nd world congress on work environments and security, held from 20 - 23 September in Toronto, Canada.

Nordic vision zero for workplace accidents inspires world congress - Read More…

A death blow for the social dialogue as a constitutional mechanism in the EU?

The European Public Service Union EPSU lost on all points, while EU Commission’s claim was upheld – arguing it was not obliged to execute or carry forward new agreements that have been added to the social dialogue for decisions in the Council of Ministers, writes the latest issue of EU & Arbetsrätt.

A death blow for the social dialogue as a constitutional mechanism in the EU? - Read More…

Labour shortages all around, including in the Danish film industry

It is hard to find tradespeople who have time for new projects and the Danish film industry is short of everything from actors to scriptwriters. Businesses are asking the government for more foreign labour.

Labour shortages all around, including in the Danish film industry - Read More…

New Swedish delegation to fight work-related crime

On 27 September, the Swedish government took another step in the fight against work-related crime when it presented a delegation tasked with increasing knowledge about the issue while supporting the authorities working to stop it.

New Swedish delegation to fight work-related crime - Read More…

Why Iceland's wage increase outstrips the rest of Europe

In August, Iceland's monthly wage index increased by 0.3%. The index had then risen by 7.9% in the last 12 months, which is more than in most other European countries. The increase from the first to the second quarter of this year was 8.1%, the third-highest in Europe.

Why Iceland's wage increase outstrips the rest of Europe - Read More…

NIVA restructured its entire business in one month and got flush with cash

The Nordic institution NIVA, with headquarters in Helsinki, organises courses within the field of occupational health and safety for participants in and outside of the Nordic region. When Corona hit, NIVA managed to cancel all future courses and replace them with online versions – all in one month.

NIVA restructured its entire business in one month and got flush with cash - Read More…

Iceland received the most refugees per capita in 2020 among the Nordics

Immigration to OECD countries fell by 30% in 2020 to 3.7 million people. That is the lowest level since 2003. Denmark, Finland and Norway received fewer asylum seekers per capita than the OECD average, while Iceland and Sweden took in considerably more.

Iceland received the most refugees per capita in 2020 among the Nordics - Read More…

The Nordics come together to prepare for future crises

When new crises shake the Nordic region, the countries will cooperate on crisis preparedness and keep a close dialogue before introducing closed borders and other restrictions which impact on Nordic neighbours. There is broad agreement for this between the Nordic governments and parliamentarians.

The Nordics come together to prepare for future crises - Read More…

Nordics agree to protect culture as well as the climate

Climate and sustainability get more from the 2022 Nordic cooperation budget, while culture and education avoid planned cuts.

Nordics agree to protect culture as well as the climate - Read More…

New Icelandic employers' organisation while trade union chair resigns

It has been an eventful month for the Icelandic labour market. On the employer’s side, representatives of smaller companies formally founded a new association to further their interests, since they believe that they are not properly looked after elsewhere. At the same time, the chairman of one of the largest trade unions in the country resigned after accusations from union employees of bullying.

New Icelandic employers' organisation while trade union chair resigns - Read More…

Cognitive health part of new Swedish work environment strategy

Do you juggle all the balls at once rather than focus on what you should be doing? Or do you prioritise and concentrate on what is the most pressing task? Today’s labour market is really testing our cognitive capacity. More and more of us come down with cognitive ill health.

Cognitive health part of new Swedish work environment strategy - Read More…

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