Denmark is known for its extremely good work-life balance, resulting in increased productivity and job satisfaction levels. In fact, Denmark’s workforce is considered to be one of the most productive and hard-working in the world. Although the country’s official language is Danish, the majority of the population has a very good command of English, making it fairly easy to integrate new Danish employees into your remote team.
In Denmark, every employee working for more than eight hours per week over a period of more than one month needs to be provided with an employment contract which should contain at least the basic terms of employment such as:
- Identification of both parties
- Date of commencement (and employment duration for temporary contracts)
- Job description as well as duties and responsibilities
- Basic salary and other compensation or benefits as well as payment details
- Working hours
- Total number of holidays
- Notice periods for employment termination
- Reference to collective agreements
Probation periods in Denmark are subject to the employee’s individual employment contract but should not exceed three months.
Working Hours and Breaks
For most employees in Denmark, a standard working week is 37 hours with work being distributed over five days from Monday to Friday.
In most companies, employees receive a 30 minutes’ breakfast break – either paid or unpaid – as well as an additional break if the working day exceeds six hours. An employee’s daily rest period must not be shorter than eleven hours and he or she must be given at least one proper rest day – i.e. 24 hours following a daily rest period – per week.
Overtime work is quite common in certain industries and job areas. However, Danish labour law rules that employees must not work for more than 48 hours per week, including overtime.
Additional hours can either be paid out together with the employee’s normal salary or compensated with additional days off. Where applicable, overtime regulations must be clearly stated in the employment contract.
Salaries in Denmark are usually paid once a month.
There is no national minimum wage in Denmark. Instead, minimum pay rates are defined by collective agreements for each individual industry.
Sick leave and sick pay in Denmark are subject to collective agreements and individual employment contracts. As a general rule, employees should continue receiving their full wages for five weeks – extendable by another four weeks.
For those employees who are not covered by a collective agreement, sick leave is governed by the Act on Sickness Benefit. According to this regulation, employers are obligated to pay their employees their normal salary during the first 30 days of sickness-related absence from work. Any additional sick days – up to 52 weeks – are covered by social security.
There is no law which mandates the payment of a 13th salary in Denmark but performance-based bonuses become increasingly popular.
Taxes and Social Security Contribution
Compared to other European countries, tax rates in Denmark are relatively high. This is partly due to the fact that the Danish social security system is mainly financed through general tax while specific social security contribution rates paid by employees and employers are extremely low. As of 2021, the contribution rates are set as follows:
22% corporate tax rate
25% VAT (standard rate)
8% of labour market contribution on all income
12.11% to 15% state tax *
around 24.971% municipal tax
annual contributions to various social security funds, pension and mandatory industrial injury insurance: roughly between DKK 10,000 and DKK 12,000
fixed annual contribution to mandatory pension scheme: DKK 1,135.80
* with tax thresholds being set at DKK 46,700 and DKK 544,800
Employees who have completed at least one year of service are entitled to five weeks – i.e. 25 days – of annual leave. During their first year of employment, employees can still claim five weeks of leave but it will be unpaid. Most employees are entitled to a vacation bonus equal to 12.5% of their salary.
In addition, the country observes eleven public holidays on which employees are usually not required to work. Employers may give their employees further days off on the occasion of unofficial holidays such as Christmas Eve.
Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave
Pregnant employees can claim 14 weeks of maternity leave after giving birth and four weeks before the expected due date. During this time, employees are entitled to 50% of their usual wages – maybe even their full wages, depending on the collective agreement in place.
Paternity leave in Denmark is two weeks and must be taken within the first 14 weeks after the child’s birth.
After the end of maternity leave, mothers and fathers can take up to 32 weeks of parental leave. As parental leave is a family entitlement, benefits for both parents are limited to a total of 32 weeks.
An extension of parental leave by either eight or fourteen weeks is possible. In this case, daily allowance rates are reduced in order not to exceed the total allowance of 32 weeks.
Additional Leave and Benefits
Under the Danish Act on Leave from Work Due to Special Family Reasons, employees are entitled to unpaid time off due to:
- urgent family matters
- need to care for a family member
In addition to employment termination by default – i.e. in case of a fixed-term contract – resignation and mutual agreement, employers can terminate the employment for the following reasons (non-exhaustive list):
- staff reduction or other economic reasons
- summary dismissal due to gross misconduct
- constant underperformance
- long-term illness
Notice periods vary depending on collective agreements and rules set out in the employment contract. As a general standard, Denmark’s Act on Salaried Employees sets the following notice periods for employers – only applicable in those cases where dismissal is not due to employee misconduct:
|Length of service
|up to 6 months
|up to 3 years
|up to 6 years
|up to 9 years
|over 9 years
According to the Danish Salaried Employees Act, only those employees who have continuously worked for the same company for at least twelve years can claim severance pay equal to one month’s salary – three months’ salary if the employee’s length of service exceeds 17 years. However, depending on the sector, regulations may be different under the respective collective agreement.
Hiring in Denmark?
Not sure if you should start with a contractor or go ahead and hire a full-time teammate in Denmark? The Lano platform makes it easy to go from freelance to full-time employee. Get expert guidance from the Lano team to compare your options and keep growing.