Last updated on: December 26th, 2023
The Labour Law in Denmark is regulated mainly by the Working Environment Act of 2005. The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, rest periods, wages, etc. The other acts that govern employment relationships are the Salaried Employees Act, the Vacation Act, the Act on Maternity Leave and Allowance, the Act on Sickness Benefits, the Act on Workers’ Compensation, collective bargaining agreements, and individual contracts.
Obligation of Employers – Employees must be informed about the following:
- If the employee does not have a fixed or primary place of work the employee is free to determine their place of work.
- If the employee is a temporary worker, the identity of the user company must be provided.
- If a probationary period has been agreed, the terms and duration of the probationary period must be stated.
- The employee’s rights regarding other paid absences, not only – as before – information about holidays, but also about, for example, salary in connection with illness, the child’s first day of illness, maternity/paternity leave, etc.
- Any overtime arrangements and payment for overtime and/or shift change arrangements.
- If the employee has unpredictable working hours, information must be provided on the variable nature of the schedule, the number of guaranteed paid working hours, and payment for work beyond the guaranteed hours. In addition, information must be provided on the time periods during which the employee can be required to work, the minimum notice to be given prior to a work assignment, and the deadline for canceling a work assignment.
- If the employer offers training, these rights, including the number of training days, must be disclosed.
- The identity of the social security institutions for which the employer is responsible and which receive social security contributions related to the employment relationship, as well as any social security protection.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Employees are entitled to 5 weeks of vacation per year, corresponding to 25 working days. Employees earn the right to 2.08 days of paid holiday for each month of employment in a calendar year (qualifying year). Vacation will be accrued from 1st September to 31st August (12 months) and can be used between 1st September and 31st December (16 months).
The employer shall operate with concurrent holidays, meaning that holidays can be taken in the same year in which the holiday entitlement is qualified. To provide the employees with improved flexibility in planning the paid holiday, the new Holiday Act operates within a 16 months period, in which the holidays can be taken.
The employee will have 2.08 days after 1 month’s employment. Hence Employees qualify for 2.08 days of paid holidays during every month of employment, and accordingly 25 days per year.
Employees will be entitled to at least a minimum of 15 days of annual leave at one time. Leave begins at the beginning of working hours on the first holiday and ends at the end of working hours on the last holiday.
Employee’s weekly rest day or public holiday shall not be counted as part of annual leave for the purpose of entitlement of leave. Employees can apply for paid holidays in advance, meaning that if the employee wants to take holidays and has not yet qualified for (a sufficient number of) paid holidays, an agreement between the employer and the employee can be made.
An employee can accrue and take leave during the same period. Holiday leave is earned from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 (qualifying year) and taken as it is accrued during the qualifying year and the subsequent four-month period.
Sick leave during the time of annual vacation: In case an employee falls ill prior to the beginning of the annual leave, the employee is not obligated to start the vacation. Where an employee falls ill during the course of the vacation, such an employee will be entitled to compensatory leave after 5 days of illness during the holiday year subject to proper medical documentation. The employee acquires the right to compensatory leave from the day on which the employee notifies the employer of the illness unless very special circumstances apply. If the employee has accrued less than 25 vacation days, the number of vacation days & the right to compensatory leave will be proportionately lesser. Holiday Act, No. 762 of June 27, 2011 (as amended), § § 8, 14, 24 (Danish).
A female employee has the right to pregnancy and childbirth leave from 4 weeks before expected childbirth, and maternity leaves until 14 weeks after childbirth,(the first 2 weeks after the birth is mandatory).
A mother has the right and duty to be absent in the first 2 weeks after a birth. After this, she has the right to be absent for a further 8 weeks.
A father or co-mother has the right to absence for 2 consecutive weeks after the birth or after receiving the child in the home or by agreement with the employer within the first 10 weeks after the birth.
Effective January 1, 2024, an employee shall have the right to transfer part of the leave to a closely related family member e.g., grandparents or siblings. The transferred part of the leave will have to be taken before the child turns 1. Furthermore, flexible arrangements shall be made available for LGBT+ families, where up to four parents (the two legal and the two social parents) can share a part of the parental leave. LGBT+ families will be able to transfer available weeks to ‘social’ relatives, including the spouse of the legal parent, a known donor with a parental relationship with the child, or for example, the donor’s spouse/partner.
A female employee who wishes to transfer absence rights must notify the employer of this and whether she wishes to take absence instead, no later than 4 weeks before the expected date of birth. A future father or co-mother who wishes to take advantage of their right to leave after the birth must notify the employer of this and the length of the absence no later than 4 weeks before the expected start of the absence.
Pay – In case of absence, a mother is entitled to a maternity allowance for 14 weeks, and a father or co-mother is entitled to a maternity allowance for 22 weeks until 1 year after the child’s birth or reception. Based on individual employment agreements or collective bargaining agreements, employees may be entitled to full salary during some of their maternity leave. An employer that pays salary during maternity leave may be entitled to reimbursement from the public authority Udbetaling Danmark.
If the child is stillborn, dies, or is adopted before the 32nd week after birth, the mother has the right to be absent for 14 weeks after the child’s death. The right of absence is extended in circumstances when the mother has pregnancy-related sickness, but only for a maximum of 46 weeks after childbirth. The father or co-mother may still exercise their right to be absent if the child is stillborn or passes away before the 32nd week after birth.
Employed employees have the right to resume work and postpone upto 5 weeks of the right of absence. The deferred absence, when used, must be kept for a continuous period. The deferred right of absence must be used before the child turns 9.
Employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and should have worked for a minimum of 120 hours to be eligible for maternity benefits. Employees on maternity leave are entitled to return to either their previous job or an equivalent job. Right to Leave and Daily Allowances for Maternity, No. 872 (as amended) § § 6-8.
Biological fathers and employees (male or female) who are legal, though not biologically, the child’s parent, is entitled to 2 consecutive weeks of paid paternity leave within 10 weeks after childbirth.
Fathers and nonbirth mothers are able to take their leave in non-consecutive periods, as long as the leave is taken within the first 10 weeks after the birth and has been agreed upon with the employer. Employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and should have worked for a minimum of 120 hours to be eligible for paternity benefits. Employees on paternity leave are entitled to return to either their previous job or an equivalent job.
Based on individual employment agreements or collective bargaining agreements, employees may be entitled to full salary during some of their paternity or parental leave. Right to Leave and Daily Allowances for Maternity, No. 872 (as amended) § § 6-8.
Adoptive parents are entitled to a total of 32 weeks of parental leave, which can be shared equally between them. Both adoptive parents receiving a child abroad are entitled to paid leave for up to 4 weeks prior to the reception. The 4 weeks may be extended by up to another 4 weeks if the reception of the child lasts longer than the expected 4 weeks, provided that the delay is not due to the adoptive parents’ circumstances.
If an adopted child dies before the 32nd week after receiving the child, one of the adoptive parents is entitled to absence for 10 weeks after the child’s death. If a child is adopted by a sole adopter, this parent also has the right to start the absence within the first 10 weeks after receiving the child.
Adoptive parents who are to receive an adopted child in Denmark are entitled to paid leave of absence for up to 1 week before receiving the child if the child does not already have a residence in the adopters’ home. The right to absence is extended for up to 1 week if the stay is longer than 1 week for reasons that cannot be attributed to the future adopters.
In the first 10 weeks after receiving the child, each of the adopters has the right to absence for 6 weeks, which, apart from 2 consecutive weeks, cannot be taken at the same time.
If the child is hospitalized, the period during which there is a right to absence is extended or postponed.
If the work does not resume at admission, extend the period of entitlement to the absence of hospitalization period if the hospitalization takes place during the first 46 weeks after delivery or receipt. However, the right of absence can be extended for a maximum of 3 months. Right to Leave and Daily Allowances for Maternity, No. 872 (as amended) § 8.
After the 10th week after the birth or reception of the child, each of the parents has the right to absence for 32 weeks. However, the father or co-mother has the right to start the absence within the first 10 weeks after the birth. If a child is adopted by a sole adopter, this parent also has the right to start the absence within the first 10 weeks after receiving the child. The leave distribution shall be as follows –
- 8 weeks of transferable maternity and paternity leave for each parent which must be used by the partner before the child’s first birthday;
- 9 weeks of earmarked parental leave for each parent; and
- 5 weeks of transferable parental leave to be taken before the child’s ninth birthday.
This breakdown amounts to 24 weeks of leave per parent, 13 of which are transferable, for a total of 48 weeks of leave combined. Right to Leave and Daily Allowances for Maternity, No. 872 (as amended) § 9.
Salaried employees are entitled to full salary, including bonus, during sick leave. An employee is entitled to 30 working days of paid sick leave. An employee who is not covered by the Salaried Employees Act may be entitled to pay during a 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.
An employee is partially incapacitated for work due to illness when it is estimated that the employee can only perform the work in part or when two or more treatments prescribed by a doctor or dentist result in partial absence from work. It is a condition that the employee’s absence is at least 4 hours per. week, which includes transport and waiting time for outpatient treatments. Salaried Employees Act, No. 542 of June 24, 2005, § 5 (Danish); Act on Sickness Benefits.
Employees have the right to paid time off for caring for family members if a family member of theirs requests to die in their own home. The municipal council provides compensation for the leaves. The caring allowance is 1.5 times the daily allowance. Employees who are not entitled to care allowance will be paid DKK 11,609 monthly in care allowance.
In the event of death, the right to care allowance is retained for up to 14 days after the death. The municipal board may exceptionally decide on the termination of care allowance if care at home is no longer appropriate. Promulgation of the law on social services, § 119, 120 & 121.
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave due to force majeure when compelling family reasons arise in the event of illness or accident that makes the employee’s immediate presence urgently necessary. Circular on Leave for Family Reason, § 5.
An employee is entitled to paid leave for up to 5 days per. the child within 12 consecutive months in connection with the employee’s hospitalization together with their own children under 14 years of age. The same applies if the child stays at home during the hospitalization. Circular on Leave for Family Reason, § 4.
Employees who lose a child before the age of 18 are entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. This also applies to co-mothers, adoptive parents, and future adoptive parents. Act on Sickness Benefits, No. 48 of January 2016.