Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War/Labour Exchange

Labour Exchange

An essential supplement to unemployment insurance is labour exchange. In this field, too, England has progressed very far through the passage of the State Labour Exchange Act, which went into effect on January 1, 1910. Denmark introduced her state labour exchange by an act of April 29, 1913, after a municipal labour exchange office had existed in Copenhagen for a number of years. The Act authorizes the Secretary of the Home Office to grant government recognition to municipal employment offices established by county, town, or parochial governments separately or jointly. They are governed by councils composed of an equal number of employers and employees chosen by the municipal council, with a chairman sanctioned by the Secretary of the Home Office. In Copenhagen the office also acts as a central bureau for the whole country under the management of a Director of Labour Exchange and a council in which, as in the subordinate councils, there is an equal representation of both interests, four members appointed by the Secretary of the Home Office on nomination by the Danish Employers' and Masters' Union and the Federative Trade Unions of Denmark, and the rest elected by the town council. Labour exchange is gratis and does not cease during labour conflicts; but when the office is informed of such a conflict by a trade union, it must notify the workers in that trade by bulletins posted in the office or otherwise. When a workman is assigned work outside the place in which he lives, he may receive pecuniary aid for his travelling expenses up to one-half the price of his ticket.

A considerable amount of co-operation with the recognized unemployment societies is implied, since the latter are obligated to forward each week to the labour exchange office in the district concerned a list of all members in the district who are receiving unemployment support. On the other hand, the unemployment societies can receive information from the labour exchange office through which a member out of work has obtained employment. Other things being equal, members of recognized societies have a prior right to appointment. A recognized unemployment society must not grant support to members who refuse, without giving any satisfactory reason, to accept any suitable employment assigned to them by the board of the society or by a municipal employment office.

On the whole, much has been accomplished. Many municipal offices have been founded, and they are working well and keeping in close touch with the unemployment societies.