How can the working environment ensure more good years on the labor market? The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) asked the Danish Board of Technology (DBT) to carry out a project to answer that question. DBT set up an independent working group tasked with producing policy recommendations to improve the working environment in Denmark. 14 recommendations were produced and presented at a hearing in the Danish parliament on January 11th 2018.
Everyone must be active longer on the labor market. That is the guiding principle in the retirement reforms completed in the last few years. However, if more years on the labor market will be more good and productive years for all employees it will require an increased effort to improve the working environment. LO asked for a proposal for tangible policy recommendations from an independent expert working group set up by DBT.
Starting in May 2017, the working group held a series of meetings where the most significant barriers for improving the working environment were discussed, resulting in 14 policy recommendations. These were made public and presented at a hearing in the Danish parliament on January 11th 2018.
The 14 policy recommendations
Many actors are responsible for ensuring a good working environment. These recommendations are primarily aimed at politicians in parliament. They can lead the way for improvements by changing rules and regulations – and by changing opinions. The recommendations address the urgent need to create an improved balance between working conditions and the resource available in the labor force. The first eight recommendations are about the general improvements needed to ensure more good years on the labor market for everyone. The following four are about the additional effort needed for groups subjected to especially strenuous work physically and/or mentally. The final two are about financing.
The working group recommends:
- More cohesion and coordination on improving working environment.
- A strong and stable Working Environment Authority as the foundation for improving working environment.
- Research on working environment must be broad and comprehensive, and results must be communicated in a way easily understood by companies and employees.
- Company counseling and guidance must be improved.
- Before making significant changes in a company, the management must assess how this affects the working environment.
- When tenders are issued the tender must set demands for the working environment.
- Increased effort from authorities to ensure a good mental working environment.
- The Working Environment Authority and pension and insurance companies should share knowledge to improve research and preventive measures.
- Work intensity should be adapted to ensure it does not damage employee health and decreases their prospects for a good and long working life.
- Outreach on the opportunities for changing career paths.
- In selected trades and industries employees should be offered physical activities during working hours.
- Support the development of new work organization and new technical tools to reduce strain and stress on employees.
- Establish a fund to finance an ambitious effort.
- Activate funds from The Fund for Better Working Environment and Labour Retention.