Collective labor law

In Denmark, the contractual relations between employees’ organisations and employers and their organisations have a far greater significance as a legal basis for regulating labour market conditions than in most countries in Europe and globally. The Danish regulation of the labour market is often called “the Danish model” and is centred around a structure and tradition where the labour market is regulated as far as possible by collective agreements and negotiation-based results rather than legislation.

What is the Danish model?

The Danish model is part of the Nordic agreement model in the Scandinavian countries, emphasising collective regulation rather than legislation. The Nordic agreement model is thus distinctive in international labour law, as the continental legislative model is the standard, internationally speaking, and in the EU. The Danish model is firmly rooted in the September Settlement of September 5th 1899. Several basic principles were laid down in the main agreement between the Cooperative Trade Unions (LO) and the Danish Employers ‘and Masters’ Association (DA).

The principles of, on the one hand, the employer’s recognition of the workers’ right to organise and conduct collective bargaining and, on the other hand, the workers’ recognition of the employer’s management rights, as well as the agreement on the detailed rules for using collective industrial action, have since been consistent in the Danish model.

Later, general agreements have been reached in other areas. The Danish model is continuously developed in line with societal developments and thus, also the content of the respective areas’ collective agreements, the decisions in the trade union system, and labour law. The Danish model has its historical origins in the private labour market, as public employees’ working conditions in early labour law in Denmark were to a greater extent regulated by law, especially by the provisions of the Constitution, the Pensions Act and later the Civil Service Act on civil servants and officials.

Today, public collective agreements are a well-integrated part of collective labour law in line with other areas. Therefore, in step with the gradual reduction of civil servants in the public sector, collaborative labour law has become more and more critical for public employment.

We can help you…

At Advokatgruppen, we advise on all branches of collective labour law. Some examples of issues that may include advice on collaborative labour law are:

  • Establishment of associations, clubs, or the like, including preparation or amendment of association statutes.
  • Enrolment in, withdrawal from and termination of associations and organisations
  • Mergers of associations
  • Conclusion, renewal and termination of agreements or local agreements
  • Organisational cases, including complaints, exclusion, disputes concerning the association, etc.
  • Membership cases, including advice regarding procedural matters, Professional Arbitration, the Labour Court, board proceedings, etc.
  • Collective industrial action and the limits thereof, including strike, blockade, lockout, and boycott
  • Handling of collective agreements in the event of a change of ownership
  • Trade unions’ control of employers – the rules for this
  • Foreign companies and collective agreements
  • Disorganised employees and the collective regulation
  • The Labour Law, the Conciliation Act, and the Arbitration Act
  • The Cooperation Committee, the Information and Consultation Act, etc.
  • Preparation of personnel policies, e.g. IT guidelines, alcohol policies, personnel manuals, etc.
  • Several unions’ “fight” over the collective agreement – who is entitled to the collective agreement?
  • The shop steward, including election, protection, the basis of action, competence, etc.

Labour law-oriented topics

Many topics are on the periphery of the classical division of labour law, which often distinguishes between collective labour law and employment law / individual labour law.

Advokatgruppen advises on several labour law-oriented topics.

Examples of these can be:

  • Occupational health and safety rules (including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers’ and employees’ obligations toward public authorities, the occupational safety and health representative and his or her special rights and obligations, safety and health, the workplace assessment, the handling of accidents at work, young people’s work)
  • The Sickness Benefit Act
  • Handling of personal data regarding employees
  • Criminal cases related to employees
  • Criminal proceedings concerning the application of foreign labour
  • Free movement of services and rules for work and residence permits
  • The management’s potential liability as members of the board of directors
  • Legal matters related to executives, including the preparation of contracts
  • Procedural rules of employment law
  • Introduction of whistle-blower schemes in municipalities and private companies, including statutory notification to the Danish Data Protection Agency
  • Bankruptcy estates’ handling of employees
  • The flex job rules
  • The rules for internships
  • Au pair employees’ rights and obligations as well as the rules for the host family’s handling
  • Protection of relatives of the disabled
  • The interplay between individual non-competition clauses and non-competition clauses related to changes in ownership.

If you want to hear more about the above, we are happy to hold an individually tailored company seminar on one or more of the topics. Meet our specialised lawyers here.

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