Denmark reinstates wage compensation for Covid-19-hit businesses

Companies who send staff home due to Covid-19 restrictions will be able to claim compensation from the state to wages can be paid, the government said on Friday.

Nightlife in Copenhagen in September 2020. A wage compensation package has been reinstated for businesses who send staff home due to new Covid-19 restrictions.
Nightlife in Copenhagen in September 2020. A wage compensation package has been reinstated for businesses who send staff home due to new Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

A deal between the government, trade union and employer representatives provides for the wage compensation, which resembles a scheme used to compensate workers affected by business closures earlier in the pandemic.

The deal aims to prevent companies in the hospitality sector – which is the sector primarily impacted by restrictions announced this week – from laying off staff due to revenue losses.

Restrictions announced on Wednesday require nightclubs to close and ban alcohol sales between midnight and 5am. Companies were also advised to cancel Christmas parties and staff to work at home where possible.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: The new Covid-19 measures Denmark will impose

“The government has today, along with unions and employer associations, reached an agreement that protects both staff and companies which will be impacted by the restrictions and recommendations which the government has announced,” acting business minister Mattias Tesfaye said in a statement.

Specifically, the deal gives affected companies – including companies whose business model involves arranging Christmas parties for other businesses – access to wage compensation if they are required to send more than 30 percent of staff home.

The leader of the Danish Trade Union Confederation (Fagbevægelsens Hovedorganisation, FH), Lizette Risgaard, said the deal was an important step.

“The provision means that workers in vulnerable sectors can retain their incomes and their associations with their employers instead of being let go,” Risgaard said.

A Covid-19 wage compensation scheme was first introduced in Denmark in March 2020. The structure of the scheme has since been updated and adapted on several occasions.

The new agreement is effective until January 15th.

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Danish supermarket chains introduce price limits on selected products

Danish company Salling, which owns three supermarket chains, will place a limit on the price of selected products until later this year in response to inflation.

Danish supermarket chains introduce price limits on selected products

The high current prices of energy and many daily items for customers, caused by inflation, are behind Salling’s decision to introduce a price limit on some of its products, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Salling owns the Netto, Bilka and Føtex supermarket chains in Denmark. The prize freezes will apply at all three.

The limits, which will be in place until October, will be applied to “basic daily and food items”, according to Salling. Netto stores will see price limits applied to 100 products, while the larger Føtex and Bilka stores will have 200 products included.

Own-brand Salling products are likely to form the bulk of the lists, but the specific products were not named by the company.

The prices of the selected products “will not increase before October 28th despite ongoing, increasing inflation,” Salling said.

Although Salling expects inflation to continue, it said it wanted to give customers the option of preventing their spending on groceries from increasing by enabling them to choose products that have not gone up in price.

“We will make it easy for customers to navigate the products by communicationg prices clearly in our stores using signs and markings on shelves,” Salling CEO Per Bank said in the statement.

The move was described by Salling in the statement as an “investment” in light of expected higher costs at suppliers.

“It is just a year since Danes bought luxury items and flocked to supermarkets as a result of corona lockdowns and with extra holiday money in their pockets. Today, customers navigate by special offers and own brands as an alternative to name brands in Salling’s shops and stores,” the company said.

The company will announce on November 1st whether it will extend the limitation period, it said.