Employment Rights in Denmark

Denmark, for the longest time, did not have an exclusive body governing matters such as working time, annual leave, maternity, and other parenthood-related leave. All the terms and conditions of employment were dictated by an individual or collective contracts. However, things have changed over the past few decades.

Working in Denmark

The corporate sector in Denmark is regulated by official legislation, the Salaried Employees Act and the Act on the Legal Relationship between Employers and Salaried Employees (Lov om retsforholdet mellem arbejdsgivere og funktionærer).

The Salaried Employees Act primarily works with white-collar employees who work in industries with collective contracts, i.e., agreements between trade unions and employers. These benefits are only applicable to salaried individuals who are paid monthly, aka white-collar employees. People who receive wages on an hourly basis aren’t entitled to the perks laid out in the Salaried Employees Act.

There was a shift in Denmark’s employment regulations and regulating body, following pressure that had been placed by the European Union.

Since Denmark is part of the EU, they needed to implement employment directives enforced by the European Union. This included an official bill listing all the rights given to an employee working in Denmark. (See also: Denmark Employment Policy Changes)

Foreign nationals who wish to work in Denmark need to have a work permit or valid visa to commence work in the country. However, that rule doesn’t apply to citizens coming from EEA countries, including Switzerland.

Once hired, an employee has to serve a 3 month long probationary period, but that only applies to white-collar workers. The probationary period for hourly wages is determined and discussed in the collective agreement.

All employees are entitled to work 37 hours a week. However, employers may negotiate and agree on a different number of working hours a week, within the upper cap of 48 hours, including overtime.

Salaries are typically paid monthly or weekly, as per the terms stated in main agreements between trade unions and employers or individual contracts between an employer and employee. There is no minimum wage criterion set by the national legislature, but it may be discussed and mentioned in deals between Danish Employers’ Confederation and union groups.

Equal Rights in Denmark

In Denmark, men and women are paid the same salary if they do equal work. This means there is no pay gap in the country.

What’s more is that the senior employees in Denmark in most cases, are entitled to perks such as mobile phone, PC/laptop, internet, health insurance, gym membership, extra holidays, newspapers, and a company car. If they are not provided any of the mentioned items, their employment contract must say so.

Most employees in the country are asked to participate in pension plans, in which the company and employee will contribute an amount of money each month for the worker’s retirement funds. Let’s say a salaried individual pays 5% of their salary for a pension plan; then the employer may give 10% of the employee salary to match the former contribution. This way, employees will have a substantial amount of capital to withdraw at the time of resignation or retirement.

The Holiday Act gives each salaried employee a paid annual leave of 5 weeks. However, workers are not paid in full, and their remuneration for the time off depends on their salary rate or an hourly basis.

New parents are allowed maternity/paternity leave to bond with their children. However, the duration of the leave is different for both parents. A father gets 2 consecutive weeks’ paternity leave within the first 14 weeks after delivery and the mother receives 2 weeks’ maternity leave, which she can extend up to 12 weeks or more. The mother will also receive 4 weeks off before her expected due date.

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