Part-time work has few negative consequences for women in the Nordic region. New regulations have reduced the impact on pensions. A preschool teacher or enrolled nurse in Denmark or Norway who works part time for ten years still receives 98-99 percent of the maximum pension.
There is an intensive debate on part time work in all of the Nordic countries. But this goes further than women choosing to work part time for certain periods. If gender equality is the goal, should women take on more full time work or should men work more part time?
Dorte Nielsen is one of many Danish female public sector employees in part time work. Her working life has improved but her economy has suffered.
In the UK the use of so-called zero hour contracts is increasing in step with the country’s economic uncertainty. Employers say the contracts created jobs and give workers more freedom. Trade unions fight what they call the exploitation of young people.
For many, part time work can be the solution to the time trap. The debate often focuses on involuntary part time work and especially on women’s role. But the impact part time work has on pensions needn’t be as bad as was once thought, a new study shows. Meanwhile new kinds of part time work spring up as a result of employers’ never-ending quest for flexibility. In the UK so-called zero hour contracts are already common, where there is no set number of hours involved at all.
Young workers represent a heterogenous group facing complex risks in working life. That means it is no longer enough to just focus on the young people themselves. In order to secure preventative working environment measures you also need to look at surrounding issues. The challenge is to acknowledge the complexity and encourage new combined efforts to improve young people’s working environments, says a new Nordic report.
Few workplaces take on more diverse staff than call centres. Youth, pensioners, handicapped, immigrants – it is the attitude and voice that determines your success, not your background or look. Even so, one of the fastest growing sectors is struggling to find enough people who want to work.
Less than ten percent of Iceland’s medical students want to seek work at Iceland’s largest hospital, the university hospital Landspítalinn. Why? Bad working conditions, stress, low pay and long working hours.
How far does our concern for young people’s working environment stretch? Does it go as far as to cover Filipino au pairs in Norway and Denmark? This month saw the start of a trial in Oslo against a host family who allegedly forced two au pairs to work 96 hour weeks.
Labour market education was the hot topic for the discussion between employment ministers and the social partners at the Nordic Minister meeting in Övertorneå on 27. august. The debate unveiled large differences between the Nordic countries, and a lack of knowledge about the efficiency of such measures. A new Nordic initiative aims to give a nuanced insight into systems and the way they operate.
The Arctic Vocational Foundation is a joint Nordic institution providing individualised training within more than 30 vocations to unemployed Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. This, is where Sweden’s Minister for Employment Hillevi Engström invited her Nordic colleagues and working life representatives to consulta-tions. What makes this training so special?
What does a successful anti youth unemployment project look like? The Nordic labour ministers have asked Danish consultancy agency Damvad to map Nordic youth projects that are based on cooperation between authorities and companies.
In later years the EU Commission has been very interested in using apprenticeships to create more opportunities in the labour market for young people. Youth unemployment is lower in countries where young people can be trained in the workplace and get a job that way. The best examples are found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, while vocational training has had good results in Denmark and the Netherlands too.
There seems to be an obvious link between job engagement and high productivity. Nordic politicians highlight the work environment as a competitive factor and hope it can lead to increased growth. But it’s not that simple. There are loose cannons and lost sheep among workers too.
Solicitors are rarely considered to be the most relaxed and easy going professional group, but Helsinki solicitor firm Fondia is challenging the stereotypes. The office is teaming with recycled goods, soft values and fun and games – in all seriousness.
A Nordic proposition to systematically measure businesses’ psychosocial work environments is getting expert backing. But the businesses must also play their part, and hiring a consultant is not always the best solution.
New technology puts more pressure on journalists to be ‘online’ and makes their job situation more diffuse and the journalists more vulnerable. Meanwhile support systems have not changed. If you want to create commitment and job engagement you need to strengthen work environment resources, say researchers.