Employment law in Denmark

In Denmark, the relationship between an employer and an employee is regulated on the one hand by what is agreed in individual employment contracts, and on the other hand by a statutory framework with the overriding objective of protecting the employee.

The regulation governing employment relations can be grouped in three categories;
1) Rules applicable to all employees
2) Rules applicable to special types of employees, and
3) Rules applicable to employees within framework agreements and collective agreements

The rules that applies to all employees, regulates the holiday entitlement (ferieloven) as well as the right to maternity and parental leave. The Danish Holiday Act (ferieloven) provides a holiday entitlement of five weeks per year (public holidays not included). In case of maternity/paternity leave, both parents are entitled to leave in connection with childbirth/adoption. Entitlement to pay during maternity and parental leave, the parents are as a minimum entitled to receive statutory maternity pay whilst on leave.

The rules that applies to specific types of employees, the Danish Salaried Employees Act (funktionærloven) is the most import act relating to this category. This act includes rules on protection against dismissal, different types of compensation, and non-competition clauses. In addition to this act, employees are often covered by a collective agreement as well.
The rules that applies to employees within framework agreements and collective agreements are different depending on the specific agreement. Workers and craftsmen are usually covered by the collective agreements upon with the relevant industry and trade union. The collective agreements often regulate the number of working hours, wages and minimum wages, and more details depending on the specific agreement. Collective agreements typically apply for a period of two to four years.
In Denmark we have an act called the Danish Act on Employer’s Obligation to inform Employees of the Conditions applicable to the Employment Relationship (ansættelsesbevisloven). This act specifies what which conditions should be written down as a minimum in an employment contract. If these conditions are not fulfilled, the employee can be entitled to compensation.

The Danish Salaried Employees Act (funktionærloven) lays in general a number of rules which cannot be derogated to detriment of the employee. For example, the period of notice in the event of the dismissal of an employee is determined by the duration of the employment relationship where the maximal notice is six months and the employee’s notice is one month. If the dismissal of a salaried employee is not duly justifying, the employee has a right to compensation.

The maximum weekly working hours are stipulated to 37 hours in the collective labor market agreements for full-time workers, but parties are free to agree a variation of working hours up to a maximum of 48 hours a week including overtime.