Do more people in Denmark work from home after Covid-19?

Evidence suggests that many people in Denmark who switched to working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic have continued to do so since restrictions ended.

Do more people in Denmark work from home after Covid-19?
Around 10 percent of people in Denmark still regularly work from home, despite the end of Covid-19 restrictions. Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Over one in ten people in Denmark now work from home, according to new data published by national agency Statistics Denmark.

The proportion of employed people who regularly worked from home during the second quarter of 2022 was 10.9 percent, according to the agency.

‘Regularly’ is defined as working from home for more than half of the days in a four-week period.

The figure is down 3.4 percent from the first quarter of the year, when pandemic restrictions were still in place. 

The coronavirus crisis was an eye-opener for many in relation to home working, according to an analyst.

“For many people, home working has become an integrated form of work in their daily lives, which can give flexibility and the chance of in-depth working at home,” Niklas Praefke, senior economist with Ledernes Hovedorganisation, a trade union for management professionals, said in a comment.

“But we can also still see that a lot of people prefer to attend their place of work and be among colleagues. As such, the choice of working form does not need to be ‘either-or’,” he said.

The level of working from home various considerably between sectors, the data also reveals.

11.9 percent of persons working in the private sector worked from home regularly in the second quarter, with 8.3 percent of public sector staff doing the same.

Working from home was also more prevalent in the private sector before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

It is also natural that some sectors, such as communication, have higher home working rates than others, such as construction, Praefke pointed out.

“If you work at an office, it’s quite simple to take your work home with you, but you can’t do that if you’re a manual worker and need to be at a construction site,” he said.

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‘One in two’ tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Visits by inspectors uncovered the practice of social dumping at over half of companies checked in Denmark last year, the Ministry of Tax said on Friday.

'One in two' tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Inspections in 2022 at workplaces including restaurants, construction sites and agricultural and cleaning businesses turned up a large number of cases of social dumping.

Some 3,343 inspections were conducted during the year, scrutinising working environments and tax payments along with staff work and residence permits, the Danish Tax Agency (Skattestyrelsen) said.

Social dumping is defined by the EU as the practice whereby “workers are given pay and/or working and living conditions which are sub-standard compared to those specified by law or collective agreements in the relevant labour market, or otherwise prevalent there.”

This means that, in cases where the Danish authorities detected social dumping, foreign staff were working under poorer conditions than the law or relevant collective bargaining agreement provides for Danish nationals. This saves employers money because the labour costs them less.

The Tax Agency is responsible for checking Danish tax rules are properly complied with. As such, the checks by the Tax Agency checked tax aspects of potential social dumping breaches, with other authorities responsible for other areas.

The Tax Agency can detect social dumping by, for example, checking the amount of income tax or VAT (moms in Danish) paid at a company.

Companies were asked to regulate their tax payments at more than one in two inspections in 2022, according to the tax ministry.

“The new report from the Tax Agency clearly shows that there is an issue here and that the joint efforts from authorities are paying off,” Tax Minister Jeppe Bruus said in the statement.

Some 1.9 billion kroner has been raised by the state in tax demands made as a result of social dumping inspections since 2015.

Last year’s inspections enabled tax authorities to demand 317 million kroner, the highest figure since structured control of social dumping began in 2012. The prior year, 2021, saw demands for 311 million kroner issued as a result of the inspections.

“It’s crucial for the economy and cohesion in society that there is respect for the playing rules of the Danish labour market,” Bruus said.