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Fundamental trust among employees

Charlotte Mette Due is one aspect of what flexicurity looks like in Denmark. Ten years ago, she started working as a cleaning assistant in the medico company Novo Nordisk. Today, she works in insulin production, and is being further trained as an industrial operator.

Charlotte Due explains her progress within the company: ‘After 2 years as a cleaner, I became more involved with the cafeteria and started working in the kitchen. We were then told that within a few years catering would be outsourced.’

Job transfer
As a socially conscious employer, Novo Nordisk employment policy pledges that if workforce downsizing is necessary, it will be handled through natural wastage and internal job transfers. Accordingly, Mrs. Due was offered a job on the factory floor, which she accepted.

‘I was fond of my job in the cafeteria’ says Charlotte Due, 'but my current job is much more important’.

Fundamental trust
‘Novo Nordisk does not directly benefit from the flexicurity model as we do not let our employees down’, Human Resource Director Lars Christian Lassen explains. ‘Indirectly however, we benefit from the fundamental trust among employees due to the fact that the government safety net will catch them if they fall.’

Safety net
The safety net would also have caught Charlotte Due if Novo Nordisk had not been able to relocate her within the company. She would then have been entitled to unemployment benefits, re-employment assistance and retraining if needed.

Charlotte Due's case is one aspect of flexicurity. Support during illness is another - the government covers healthcare as well as sick leave payments. If, upon returning, the employee is unable to perform the same job, a ‘flexjob’ can be arranged with the government subsidizing the salary while the employee works reduced hours. The employer retains a loyal worker and the government pays less in subsidy than it would in disability pension or unemployment benefit.

The active labour market policy also ensures greater security through better opportunities on the labour market. At any given time, 30% of Danish adults are in some form of education and training program. If already employed, the government offers to pay for tuition while companies pay the salaries. As a result, companies increase their capacities while workers increase their employability.

Social Responsibility
Novo Nordisk also engages in the public program for on-job training, accepting trainees from local technical schools. The company does not benefit directly from training students, and any associated costs are subsidized by the government.