The ‘Forgotten' Social Responsibility of Social partners when Marketing Denmark: An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Aspects of Danish Work/Life Balance Policies  

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch

In recent years, companies' corporate social responsibility in terms of securing sustainable economic development, enhancing employees' quality of life and safeguarding the environment has increasingly attracted national governments, social partners and consumers' attention worldwide. Denmark is no exception, and Danish governments in particular have to a varying degree launched campaigns on corporate social responsibility since the early 1990s (Lindsay and Mailand, 2006: 11-4). However, these government driven initiatives have mainly focused on employment related issues such as targeting the unemployed, developing job training in terms of flexi-jobs with wage subsidies, revalidation rather than, for instance, gender equality. In fact, gender equality is rarely a topic discussed in relation to companies' corporate social responsibility, despite Denmark's success in enabling particularly mothers to combine work with care-giving - achieved partly through relatively extensive workplace policies. Indeed, social partners have through collective agreements taken on social responsibility in terms of enhancing employees' work/life balance by granting employees access to flexible working, rights to various short- and long-term leave entitlements, setting limits for the number of weekly working hours, introducing a maternity redistribution fund, accrued pensions rights and guidelines for good practice on family friendly policies.

This article examines the various Danish work/life balance policies regulated through collective agreements signed by trade unions and employers associations at sectoral level in the public and private sector. It argues that these workplace policies rarely are portrait as companies' corporate social responsibility and part of their ‘image of the products', but nevertheless social partners' work/life balance policies can be perceived as such social responsibilities, since they ensure Danish employees reasonable working conditions through relatively extensive rights in the workplace. However, the relatively well-developed work/life balance policies often favour specific groups of employees, particularly mothers and to a lesser degree fathers and other types of employees who combine work with care-giving. Therefore, Danish work/life balance policies appear to some degree to discriminate against carers other than mothers, indicating that this group of carers is expected to combine work and care-giving with limited if no support from their workplace.

In the following, the main features of the Danish labour market and the collective bargaining system is first briefly presented. We then discuss recent Danish initiatives on corporate social responsibility and different carer and gender focused models to develop an analytical framework. Afterwards the Danish work/care policies regulated through collective agreements are examined.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2009
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventGender, Climate and Sustainability - København, Denmark
Duration: 13 Mar 200914 Mar 2009


ConferenceGender, Climate and Sustainability

ID: 11889005