At the heart of the Nordic occupational welfare model: Occupational welfare trajectories in Sweden and Denmark

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Abstract

Sweden and Denmark are countries with a strong tradition of the involvement of labor market partners in welfare policies, and this begs the question whether this influences the development of occupational welfare. This article depicts the reasons for, and the development of, occupational welfare, especially in relation to pensions, sickness benefit, and parental leave. The interaction between an in principle universal tax-financed welfare state and the use of occupational welfare, often supported using fiscal welfare, implies a deviation from the Nordic model, as universality is no longer guaranteed. The article further raises the issue of whether this will increase inequality because of the dualization on the labor market, and whether Sweden and Denmark are similar or dissimilar in relation to the development in the use of, and the impact of, occupational welfare. Lastly, the article discusses the fact that occupational welfare might mitigate the consequence of retrenchment by passing on expenditures to employers. Thus, arguing that an increase in occupational welfare is due to the gradual reduction in welfare state benefits, and that trade unions' strength has influenced the level. The conclusion of the article is that what social partners thought of as a supplement has now moved the Nordic welfare states away from their universal approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Volume52
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)508-518
Number of pages11
ISSN0144-5596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Important message from the Publisher, regarding the attached document: "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Greve B. At the heart of the Nordic occupational welfare model: Occupational welfare trajectories in Sweden and Denmark. Soc Policy Admin. 2018;52:508–518. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12380, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12380. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

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