Denmark's Labor Law is managed by the Working Environment Act of 2005. This legislation details employment regulations, like working hours, breaks, wages, etc., that must be upheld in employers' agreements with employees.
In Denmark, employees get 25 working days of vacation leave annually (roughly five weeks). Employees earn 2.08 extra days off for every month they work during the calendar year (called a qualifying year). This is derived from employees receiving 12.5% of their salary for holiday allowance — the standard way of calculating accrued annual leave in Denmark.
Employees are entitled to at least 15 days of contiguous paid leave at a time. Leave begins when their shift starts on the first day and ends on the last day. Weekly rest or public holidays don't count towards employees' paid vacation days. Employees can also apply for annual leaves in advance if they haven't accrued a sufficient number — agreed upon between employers and their staff.
Of course, the leave policy in Denmark isn't the only complicated aspect of hiring and managing a team in the country. Visit Skuad’s country page for more information on hiring in Denmark.
Public Holidays in Denmark
There are 11 public holidays in Denmark in which employees receive paid time off:
- New Year’s Day
- Maundy Thursday
- Good Friday
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- General Prayer Day
- Whit Monday/Pentecost
- Christmas Day
- Boxing day
There may be additional days off based on CBAs and other special occasions. These holidays cannot be moved to another date if they occur on a weekend. Finally, employees who work overtime on a public holiday will receive an additional premium of 100% of their average salary for this period of work.
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Types of Leave in Denmark
The following are the various types of leaves employees are entitled to in Denmark:
Sick leave in Denmark
Salaried employees in Denmark can rest assured they will still receive their salary and bonuses while taking sick leave. Under the Salaried Employees Act, employees have access to 30 working days of paid leave due to illness.
Employees who become partially incapable of performing their work duties due to treatment may be eligible for partial leave. This is granted if they can only partially complete their work or if they require two or more prescribed treatments by a doctor or dentist. To qualify, the absence from work must be at least four hours per week, including transport and any wait time for outpatient treatments.
Even if workers are not covered by the Salaried Employees Act, their individual contract or CBA may offer pay during a sick day off, too. Lastly, those who don't qualify for statutory or contractual payment can apply for sickness benefits under the Danish Act on Sickness Benefits.
Maternity Leave in Denmark
A female employee has the right to take pre-birth leave four weeks prior to their expected delivery date. They also receive postnatal maternity leave up to 10 weeks after birth (a mandatory two-week absence is required). During this time, they are entitled to 50% of their base pay. However, employees in Denmark may be eligible for full salary during some of their maternity leave, depending on individual employment agreements or CBAs. Employers who pay employee salaries during maternity leave can be reimbursed by Udbetaling Danmark (the public benefits authority).
Employees must have held a job for at least 13 weeks and put in a minimum of 120 hours to qualify for maternity benefits. Those who take maternity leave are guaranteed the opportunity to come back either to their old position or one with equal standing. For self-employed persons, they'll need to have worked the preceding month and at least six months over the prior year before taking maternity leave. To qualify, they must have logged at least 18.5 of their usual 37 hours per week for half of the past twelve months. If self-employed work experience spans fewer than six months, time spent employed as a salary earner may be included in calculating eligibility requirements instead.
In the event of death or illness that prevents the mother from caring for their child, 32 weeks of absence can be granted to the father or co-parent as assigned by law. If a baby is stillborn or dies (or is adopted) before week 32 after its birth, the new mother is entitled to take 14 weeks off after their loss. If the mom experiences pregnancy-related illness, their leave can last up to 46 weeks postpartum. Similarly, fathers or co-parents in this situation are allowed to take time off, too.
Paternity Leave in Denmark
New fathers in Denmark are eligible for two weeks of paid paternity leave after the birth of a child. Legal fathers and non-birth parents may take this leave non-consecutively within 14 weeks, as long as it's agreed upon with the employer. To be eligible, employees must have been employed for at least 13 weeks and worked 120 hours or more for their employer. Depending on their employment situation (contracts and CBAs), they may receive full salary during some or all parental leave periods.
Denmark consolidates maternity and paternity leave entitlements into one act.
Adoption Leave in Denmark
Adoptive parents in Denmark are eligible for 32 weeks of parental (adoption) leave — this can be split between them. Before receiving their child if coming from abroad, both parents receive paid time off for up to four weeks. If the process takes longer than expected (not caused by the adoptive family), they may have another four weeks of payment-supported absence.
Adoptive parents in Denmark are entitled to a paid week of leave before receiving an adopted child, and if the process takes longer than one week for reasons out of their control, another paid week may be possible. After receiving the child, parents get 14 weeks total that can be split between them but can only be used one at a time. Adoption leave entitles employees to return to their previous job or one that is equivalent.
If the adopted child needs to stay in the hospital during this time for an extended period, either of the parents can ask for more time off work or a change in their return date. Or, if sadly the adopted child passes away before the 32-week mark post-adoption, one parent is eligible for 14 weeks' leave afterward.
Parental Leave in Denmark
In Denmark, after the 14th week of their child's birth or adoption, parents are entitled to take unpaid or partially paid (depending on contracts and CBAs) parental leave for up to 32 weeks split between them. Fathers or co-parents, however, can begin parental leave within the 14-week timeframe. Additionally, each parent can extend that time to 40 weeks. Self-employed persons can take a maximum of 46 weeks off.
As an employee in Denmark, you can access monetary parental benefits if you meet specific criteria of employment at the beginning of your period away. That includes:
- Being employed the day before leave or on the day it starts
- Working a minimum of 160 hours over four full months before leave begins
- Working 40 or more hours in three of those same four months
Employees must stay with their child each day — this means physically being with the child during leave. When Udbetaling Danmark gets salary reports from their employer, they'll automatically get the relevant info they need regarding the situation to make a decision.
If the employee is getting a salary during part of their leave, they cannot apply for parental benefits until after it ends. They may be eligible to receive some parental benefit while still on salary, however, they must check if it applies to them. If their employer pays them in full throughout the leave period, no parental benefit is available.
If employees are not sure which leave policies apply to them, they should discuss with their employer or union for information about the terms of their agreement or CBA.
Easily comply with leave policy in Denmark with Skuad
As an employer, setting up leave policies in Denmark can be daunting, especially when juggling numerous labor regulations. Fortunately, with a dependable global employment and payroll service such as Skuad, you'll get the help you need to understand every aspect of an annual leave policy for your staff.
Skuad offers a unified platform that makes it easy to meet local labor law requirements and complex international hiring processes, like calculating international parental leave mandates or managing distributed freelancers that are subject to specific regulatory policies. Book a demo today and make sure your business remains compliant with all labor and employee benefit requirements in Denmark.