PIECEWORK

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DENMARK
AKKORD
PIECEWORK

Historically, piecework has been a central element in the Danish pay system. The expression is used with two different meanings:

1) In accordance with the conventional meaning of piecework in English, it is used in the expression akkordløn (piecework pay) to denote the payment system in which the amount of pay is related to the work performed in traditional manual work, with remuneration on a piece-rate basis in the form of a fixed amount per unit produced in an industrial manufacturing process. The rates paid (akkordsats) may be fixed by collective agreement, either locally within the enterprise or through the national unions and employers' associations for the occupations concerned. These collectively agreed lists of piece rates (akkordprislister) may be drawn up following time and motion studies (see work study ), but may also consist of practical estimates (slumpakkord) based on the local experience of employers and employees regarding the work concerned. A collective agreement may also provide a legal right for employees to insist that work is performed on a piece-rate rather than a time-rate basis, with the resultant possibility of higher earnings. This is called tvungen akkord ("opted" piecework). Special problems arise in cases where work crops up for which no rates have previously been agreed. Collective agreements sometimes provide for a special guarantee payment (akkordafsavnstillæg) to be paid when the work cannot be done on a piece-rate basis and a special stand-off payment (ventetidsbetaling) to be paid if the work is delayed for reasons relating to the employer's circumstances. See also pay/wage .

2) The term also carries a second meaning, not conventionally found in English usage, of "employment contract by task" (ansættelsesakkord). This is a contract of employment entered into with a view to carrying out a specific piece of work, meaning that it terminates when the work is completed. In many cases a total payment for the work is agreed. Such contracts are particularly found in the construction industry in a form where they are concluded for the completion of specified work at a fixed price. The fact that the contract is binding for the work that is specified signifies, among other things, that the employer may not alter to the employee's disadvantage the physical conditions under which the work is to be done (for example, changing the technical equipment). Nor may the employee arbitrarily terminate the employment before the work is finished. Should the work be temporarily halted, for instance because of bad weather or shortage of materials, the relevant collective agreement often entitles the employee to a special stand-off payment or layoff pay . Where the specified work takes a fairly long time to complete, as is often the case with such contracts in the construction industry, it is normally agreed that an advance (akkordforskud) will be paid at regular intervals. However, the balance that remains outstanding (akkordoverskud) when the work has been finished and is measured (see measurement and pricing of work ) is not paid until then.


Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.