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Employee Rights in Denmark

General Employee Rights in Denmark

Employment agreement

Employees are entitled to an employment contract within the first seven days after they start work. It should state all relevant employment conditions, such as name and address of both employer and employee, remuneration, job description, date of commencement, notice period, duration of employment (if unlimited, this must be stated), working hours and location, and paid vacation. Further, it should communicate any information on collective agreements.

Employees who do not receive an employment contract addressing the mentioned employment conditions are entitled to tax-free compensation.

Employers can make small changes to the employment contract as long as they provide the employee with a short notice of 14 days. For significant changes such as salary, work description, working hours and location, the employer must give notice corresponding to the employee's notice period. Such changes are seen as a dismissal and a simultaneous new employment offer. What this means is that if the employee does not accept the new terms, they will be considered dismissed. This carries its own set of risks such as unjustified dismissal compensation.

The employer and employee can agree to make changes effective immediately or within the short notice period. This includes both insignificant and significant changes.

Payslip

Employees have the right to receive their payslip either online or a paper copy monthly with a breakdown of salary and all deductions.

Health & Safety

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that working conditions are safe and sound, and it's the responsibility of the employee to cooperate on those. Employers must:

  • Ensure that employees receive work instructions
  • Provide the appropriate and safe equipment to employees
  • Provide a clean, safe, secure and hazard-free workplace
  • Ensure employees have a proper rest period
  • Provide first-aid and welfare facilities, such as eating area, drinking water and sanitary installations

The company's workplace assessment must also include home offices.

If a company has 10-34 employees, it must create a work environment organisation to collaborate on health and safety and have one or more health and safety representatives. One or more managers should also join the organisation.

If a company has more than 35 employees, the work environment organisation should be on two levels. Level one is in charge of the day to day tasks in regards to health and safety and consist of a health and safety representative elected by the employees and a manager. Level two handles more general tasks and consists of members (one representative and one manager) from level one.

Health and safety representatives are entitled and obliged to participate in the safety organisation's work and are protected against unfair dismissal in the same way as union representatives are.

Home Offices

Cooperation between employer and employee is crucial when work is performed from home because, unlike work offices, the employer does not have control over the working conditions.

The home office must be appropriate for the employee getting work done at the environment. They must have proper lighting and place the computer screen, as to avoid glare. Screens should be adjustable and be kept away from windows that create glare and direct sunlight.

For employees working on the computer, the following rules apply:

  • There should be sufficient space for appropriate posture and movement
  • Special restrictions apply to the workbench, work chair, monitor, loading equipment, programs and lighting
  • The employee has the right to have an eye examination
  • The employee is entitled to special vision corrective aids if a visual examination shows they are necessary
  • The employer must arrange for screen time to have ample interruptions by other types of work or breaks
Flexible working

In Denmark, many employees are entitled to start and leave work earlier or later as long as they cover the regular daily hours. Most collective agreements will have their specific flextime regulations (usually not applicable to salaried employees).

Equal opportunity & pay

The Danish Act on Equal Treatment to men and women and the Danish Act on Equal Pay to men and women requires that every business treats women and men equally at work, and pays them equally for work of equal value. Employers cannot favour one gender over the other for a job promotion nor pay one gender more than the other for the same job.

Employee Protections in Denmark

Protection from discrimination

Danish laws prohibit direct and indirect discrimination based on:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Skin colour
  • Religion or belief
  • Political opinion
  • Disability
  • National, social or ethnic origin

Individuals are protected against discrimination during all stages of the employment process and are entitled to compensation.  

Protection against dismissal

Employees are protected from unfair dismissal for the following reasons:

  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy, maternity, paternity or parental leave
  • Filing a complaint against the employer
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Political opinion
  • Social, ethnic and national origin
  • Age
  • Trade union membership and activities
  • Disability

Employees that are covered by the Danish Salaried Employees Act, have superior protection against dismissal after 12 months of employment. For them, dismissal not considered reasonably justified by the conduct of the employee or company circumstances may entitle them to compensation.

Before dismissing an employee due to performance, the employer must give the employee a written warning and a chance to improve performance before proceeding with dismissal. This is to ensure documentation on the lack of performance and to minimise the risk of a potential claim.

Personal information protection

Under the GDPR rules, employers are subject to restrictions when retrieving and disclosing employee data.

  • Data processing follows established good practices
  • Data is collected only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes, and any subsequent processing must not be incompatible with those purposes. Employers should not keep personal data for longer than necessary to fulfil the purpose
  • The data must always be complete and correct. Also, a requirement of proportionality applies to both the amount of data processed and the registration period.
  • Employees personal data must only be collected and processed if there is a specific lawful basis. Eligible reasons are if it is necessary for the performance of the contract, a specific legal obligation is in place, or the employer has a legitimate need
  • Employees must receive statutory information (in the form of a privacy notice) of purposes and legal basis for processing, the recipients of personal data, third country transfers, data subject rights etc.

Required Employee Benefits in Denmark

Unpaid time off

Employees are entitled to 25 paid days off per "holiday year" which starts on 1 September and ends on 31 August the following calendar year. If an employee is hired during that period, they are still entitled to 25 days off, however only the ones they have accrued are paid. The rest are unpaid, and in fact, the employer can deduct 4.8% of monthly salary for each day taken. The same rule applies for force majeure leave as a result of a relative's illness or accident. Unless otherwise agreed, the employer can deduct that same percentage for each day taken. 

Redundancy payment

Collective redundancies happen when within 30 days, the employer dismisses:

  • at least ten employees if employing more than 20 and fewer than 100 employees
  • at least 10% of the number of employees if employing at least 100, but fewer than 300 employees.
  • at least 30 employees if employing 300 employees or more.

In the case of mass redundancies, employers must give employees and their representative an appropriate notice. The employer has to first consult with employees to decrease the number of redundancies or avoid it altogether. They must provide information about the employees affected by the mass redundancies and consult with works councils.

If they fail to do so, trade unions can assist employees with making claims. If a claim is successful, the employer may have to pay a fine.

Employees are entitled to redundancy pay if they have been continuously employed with the same employer for at least 12 years. In such a case, the severance pay - which is payable in addition to the salary during the notice period - will amount to one month's payment. After 17 years of service, the amount is three months' pay.

To learn about all statutory benefits, as well as how leading employers top that, download our Denmark benefits benchmark infographic.

Job Security in Denmark

Union membership

Employees have the right to join a trade union or association and they are protected against discrimination for being part of them. Trade unions can assist in case of disputes over pay and working conditions of their members. Employees are free to join whichever union they'd like, and employers are prohibited from demanding information on membership.

Under the Danish Information and Consultation of Employees Act, employees are entitled to discuss changes with the employer and the employer must consult with the employee representative, but the employer is not required to accommodate the employees’ wishes.

This page was last updated on 
22 September, 2022,
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