The main source of labor law in Denmark 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.
Hours & Pay Regulations
There is no legislative provision on what constitutes normal working hours, and they are therefore determined through the collective agreements. During a period of four months, the average working week should not exceed 48 hours. Normally the working hours are it is fixed at 37 hours a week. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005, § § 50-51.
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. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005, § § 50-51.
There is no legislation prohibiting or limiting night work. The only restriction prohibiting night work applies to those under 18 years of age. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005, § § 50-51.
An employee is entitled to 11 hours of rest within a period of 24 hours.
An employee is entitled to a weekly rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours within a period of seven days. The weekly rest period usually falls on a Sunday and falls at the same time for all employees of the company. Weekly rest days may be taken on a day other than Sunday if the nature of business is as such. Danish Working Environment Act, No. 268 of March 18, 2005, § § 50-51.
There are 11 public holidays in Denmark:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
- Maundy Thursday
- Good Friday
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- General Prayer Day
- Whit Monday/Pentecost
- Dec. 25: Christmas Day
- Dec. 26: Boxing Day
A public holiday that falls on a weekend is not moved to another date. Work on public holidays entitles the employee to a bonus or supplement in wages. Holiday Act, No. 762 of June 27, 2011 (as amended).
Employees are entitled to 5 weeks’ vacation per year, corresponding to 25 working days, regardless of whether they have earned the right to paid vacation. Employees earn the right to 2.08 days of paid holiday for each month of employment in a calendar year (qualifying year). Vacation must be taken between May 1 and April 30 (holiday year) following the qualifying year. Holiday Act, No. 762 of June 27, 2011 (as amended), § § 8, 14, 24.
New Danish Holidays Act
Effective Sept. 1, 2020, employees will be able to accrue and take leave during the same period. Holiday leave will be earned from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 (qualifying year) and can be taken as it is accrued during the qualifying year and the subsequent four-month period. This means that the holiday year will last from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 of the following year (for a total of 16 months), thus giving the employee a longer period in which to use the leave.
As part of the transition to the new leave regulation- holiday leave earned from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020, will only be available to the employee when he retires or leaves the labor market.
Pursuant to the Danish Act on Maternity Leave and Allowance, a female employee has the right to pregnancy and childbirth leave from four weeks before expected childbirth, maternity leave until 14 weeks after childbirth, and an additional 32 weeks of parental leave following the 14th week after childbirth.
Female salaried employees are entitled to 50 percent of their salary during maternity leave from four weeks before expected childbirth until 14 weeks after childbirth. 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.
Employees who are not entitled to any payment from their employers may be entitled to maternity/paternity pay from Udbetaling Danmark. Employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and 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 two consecutive weeks of paternity leave within 14 weeks after childbirth and to an additional 32 weeks of parental leave.
Fathers and nonbirth mothers are able to take their leave in nonconsecutive periods, as long as the leave is taken within the first 14 weeks after the birth and has been agreed with the employer. Employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and 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’ leave, which can be shared equally between them. Both adoptive parents receiving a child abroad are entitled to paid leave for up to four weeks prior to the reception. The four weeks may be extended by up to another four weeks if the reception of the child lasts longer than the expected four weeks, provided that the delay is not due to the adoptive parents’ circumstances. The adoptive parents are entitled to paid leave for 14 weeks after reception of the child. The parents can share the 14 weeks of leave between them, but they can only take leave one at a time. Employees on adoption 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) § 8.
Each parent is entitled to take 32 weeks’ parental leave, either at the same time or one after the other, but the parents’ joint entitlement to cash benefits amounts to only 32 weeks in total. Parents may extend the leave by either eight or 14 weeks by receiving a smaller parental allowance each month. The pay for the 32-week period is then spread out over either 40 or 46 weeks. Employer’s consent is not required for this. Employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and 120 hours to be eligible for parental leave benefits. Employees on parental 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) § 8.
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 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. 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.
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: September 24th, 2019