Under Danish law, agreements to perform work fall into two major categories: employment work agreements (typically referred to as individual employment agreements) and contract work agreements (e.g., consultancy agreements). Labor law is concerned with employment work agreements, such as the Act on Employer’s and Salaried Employee’s Legal Relationship (the Salaried Employees Act).
There is no legislative provision on what constitutes normal working hours, and they are therefore determined through the collective agreements. Normally it is fixed at 37 hours a week. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005.
Overtime is governed by collective agreements. Overtime pay is fixed at 150 – 200 %. Some collective agreements allow employees to choose between receiving payment and being allocated time off in lieu of payment. Some collective agreements stipulate that only hours worked in excess of the normal working week can be considered overtime, while others stipulate that overtime includes all hours worked in excess of the normal working day. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005.
There is no legislation prohibiting or limiting night work. The only restriction prohibiting night work applies to those under 18 years of age.
Work on Sundays is not prohibited. The only rule is that an employee must be allowed one day of rest for every seven days. Work on public holidays entitles the employee to a bonus of 100%. Holiday Act, No. 762 of June 27, 2011 (as amended).
Based on the findings and recommendations in the Holidays Committee’s “Report on a New Holidays Act” issued on 22 August 2017, the Danish Parliament has adopted a new Holidays Act which will enter into force on 1 September 2020.
Current Rules of Staggered Holiday
Under the current rules, holidays are earned from January to December (accrual year), wherein employees cannot spend their accrued holidays before 1 May of the following year. Therefore, new employees may have to work up to 16 months without leave before they can take paid holiday leave.
New Rules of Concurrent Holiday
According to the new Holiday Act, employees can accrue and take the leave at the same time in a 12-month period (the holiday year). This means that the holiday earned in February can be taken as soon as March the same year.
The amendment introduces a new period for accruing and taking leave. The change to concurrent holiday implies that the holiday year – the period in which holiday entitlement is accrued – will run from 1 September to 31 August. The period in which the accrued holiday can be taken will be the same as the holiday year + 4 months, i.e. from 1 September to 31 December the following year, in total 16 months. Hence, the employee will have the opportunity to take the earned vacation for an additional 4 months, which means that he will have 16 months to take the earned holiday (holiday period). This gives the employee higher flexibility to take the holiday.
Pursuant to the Danish Holiday Act, employees are entitled to five weeks, i.e., 25 working days, of annual leave per year, whether or not they have earned the right to paid leave. Employees earn the right to 2.08 days of paid leave for each month of employment in a calendar year (qualifying year). Annual leave must be taken during the period from May 1 to April 30 following the qualifying year. Holiday Act, No. 762 of June 27, 2011 (as amended).
Pursuant to the Salaried Employees Act, salaried employees are entitled to full salary, including bonus, during sick leave. An employee who is not covered by the Salaried Employees Act may be entitled to pay during sick leave under an individual employment agreement or the applicable collective agreement. An employee who has no statutory or contractual right to pay during sick leave may be entitled to sickness benefits pursuant to the Danish Act on Sickness Benefits. Salaried Employees Act, No. 542 of June 24, 2005, § 5 (Danish); Act on Sickness Benefits.
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave when compelling family circumstances, such as illness or an accident, make the employee’s immediate presence urgently necessary. Employees are not entitled to paid leave for a family member’s illness except as provided in an individual employment agreement or a collective agreement. Alternatively, the employee may decide to use annual leave for this purpose. Act on Sickness Benefits, No. 48 of January 2016.
The right to maternity, paternity, and parental leave is regulated by the Danish Act on Maternity Leave and Allowance (Maternity Leave Act). Pursuant to the Maternity Leave Act, a female employee has the right to be absent from work in connection with pregnancy and childbirth, from four weeks before the expected date of childbirth until 14 weeks after childbirth. A female employee also has the right to 32 weeks’ parental leave after the 14th week of the child’s birth. A male employee is entitled to two consecutive weeks’ of paternity leave within 14 weeks after the child’s birth. A male employee is also entitled to 32 weeks’ parental leave. The Salaried Employees Act provides that a female employee is entitled to 50 percent of her salary during maternity leave. Some individual employment agreements and collective agreements may provide for salary during all or some of the maternity, paternity, and/or parental leave periods. Right to Leave and Daily Allowances for Maternity, No. 872 (as amended).
Employees are entitled to take unpaid leave where the employee’s immediate presence with a relative is urgently needed due to sickness / accident or if the employee has been employed by a local authority to nurse a relative who is dying, or who is either seriously handicapped or ill. Act on Sickness Benefits, No. 48 of January 2016.
One day to care for a sick child, two days for public employees, for every time a child is ill. All employees are eligible for a care benefit if they care for a terminally ill relative or close friend at home. Leave is paid. Act on Sickness Benefits, No. 48 of January 2016.
Last updated on: May 31st, 2019