The Nordic Model

The active Nordic labour market policy has two main objectives: To ensure the right of every individual to participate in the labour market and to ensure that the enterprises get the labour they need. In order to create an inclusive labour market it is necessary to motivate, educate, activate, integrate and support individuals through different programs.The following articles illustrate how Nordic countries tackle the challenge of unacceptable unemployment and exclusion from the labour market.

The Nordic Model - will it survive?

At the start of the 1990s, the question was asked whether the Nordic model could survive. Many employers claimed that collective agreements and central bargaining were not flexible enough to provide industry with favourable enough terms. The level of organisation among employees fell. Wage earners, too, advocated many individual solutions. But the model has proved to be more resilient than many believed.

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Denmark: Flexible working arrangements and sheltered empoyment

It is better to change the workplace than to force people into early retirement. This is the catch phrase of a reform currently taking place in Denmark. New ways of working have been introduced: flexible working arrangements and sheltered employment.

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Sweden: The Activity Guarantee

Being unemployed for long periods is neither good for one's self-confidence, health or psychological state. If you cannot find a job quickly, your chances of finding a job lessen. Sweden is currently making a big effort to get the long-term unemployed back to work.

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Norway: Investing in Grey Gold

Norway is making a conscious effort to encourage more older people to stay in work longer. This move is aimed at fighting the myth that older people cannot keep up with developments and making it worthwhile for companies to hold onto their older workforce.

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Facts:
  • The Nordic model represents a partnership between employers, trade unions and the government, whereby these social partners negotiate the terms to regulating the workplace among themselves, rather than the terms being imposed by law.

 

  • Through collective bargaining, agreements are reached which apply industry-wide. Employers accept the trade unions' right to organise workers, while the trade unions accept that the employers have the right to manage and allocate the work.

 

  • The model assumes that both the trade unions and the employer organisations are representative. From an international perspective, the level of organisation among employees is extremely high in the Nordic countries, between 50 and 80 %.This is also the case among employers.

 

  • The Nordic model is supported by the state pursuing an active employment policy. It is based partly on keeping unemployment low and partly on improving the chances of the unemployed of finding a job through the provision of training.