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The social partners and employment policy

In the Danish labour market model, social partners on the national and regional level have a strong influence on labour market policy.

The role of the National Employment Council (BER) and the eight Regional Employment Councils (RAR) is described in the Act on the Organisation and Support of Active Labour Market Policy.

The National Employment Council (BER)

The National Employment Council (BER) has been set up to advise the Minister of Employment.

The National Labour Market Council comprises one chairman and 26 representatives from among social partners (trade unions and employers associations), the municipalities, Danish Regions and the Danish Council of Organisations of Disabled People. The national employment council convenes for eight meetings per year.

The council advises the Minister of Employment concerning major employment policy initiatives as well as the minister’s annual goals for employment policy. The council also advises on test projects and proposals for new legislation.

Regional Labour Market Councils (RAR)

At a regional level, the Minister of Employment has appointed eight Regional Labour Market Councils, each with 21 representatives drawn from among social partners (trade unions and employers associations), the municipalities, the Danish Council of Organisations of Disabled People and other regional actors including educational institutions and growth forums.

The general objective of the eight Regional Labour Market Councils is to improve coordination and dialogue between different municipalities and between municipalities and unemployment insurance funds, enterprises and other actors, including VET-centres and growth forums.

As a rule, the Regional Labour Market Councils do not have any specific authority over local municipalities. Since 2015 the eight Regional Labour Market Councils (RAR) have had the power to decide what kind of short vocational training programs job centres can receive subsidies for from the additional annual funding pool of DKK 100 million which municipalities can use to fund short vocational training programs for the unemployed. This is so as to ensure that these short vocational training programs are tailored to the demands of businesses.

The three regional divisions, located in Roskilde, Odense and Aalborg, serve as secretariats for the eight Regional Labour Market Councils (RAR).

Local Government Regional Councils

At a local level, there are no corporatist bodies laid down by law. However, in many municipalities there exist informal bodies with representatives from the business community, trade unions and educational institutions.

Denmark’s 98 municipalities are members of Local Government Denmark (LGDK/KL). Local Government Denmark is the interest group and member authority for the Danish municipalities.

Denmark has five regions consisting of a certain number of municipalities that inter-cooperate on various issues via a Local Government Regional Council. As a result of the 2015 employment reform, Denmark’s five Local Government Regional Councils are now obligated to discuss specific employment policy matters across the municipalities within each region. 

Last updated: 07-09-2021