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Denmark

Staff welfare

Updated 12/2012

Legal requirements

Social rules

Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality

It is necessary to treat men and women equally with regard to hiring, appointments, transfers, promotions, vocational education and dismissal.

Gender-related pay discrimination is also forbidden.

Similarly, there are rules to be followed on this:

A woman is entitled to maternity leave from 4 weeks prior to her expected due date to 14 weeks following the birth. Parents are entitled to parental leave for a further 32 weeks.

It is forbidden to dismiss an employee for exercising her right to maternity leave or time off due to pregnancy and maternity.

All workers in the private labour market must be members of a maternity leave compensation scheme. Employers can thus obtain a partial refund of salaries paid during maternity leave.

Health and safety at work

Employers are responsible for ensuring that there is a healthy, safe working environment within the company. The Danish Working Environment Authority carries out inspections to ensure that companies comply with the rules on the working environment.

EU directives on the working environment are implemented through a number of statutory orders.

Smoking indoors is not permitted. Workplaces must have a written smoking policy defining whether it is possible to smoke at the workplace and, where relevant, the consequences of not complying with the smoking policy.

The main bodies are:

Occupational injury insurance           

Employers must insure employees against work-related injuries. Occupational accident insurance must be taken out with an insurance company.

Insurance cover for occupational illness is obtained through contributions to the Labour Market Insurance Scheme for Occupational Illness. The size of the contributions varies between industry groups.

Labour law

Contract law

Legislation             
Legislation in the Danish labour market is limited to a few laws, as wage and employment conditions are traditionally regulated by the parties in the labour market by means of collective agreements.

Labour relations

There is no legislation on minimum wages and normal working hours in Denmark. Wages and working conditions are regulated by means of collective agreements.

The Working Time Directive has been implemented in Danish law by the Working Time Act. This contains rules on breaks, maximum working time, weekly days off, night-time working, etc.

Businesses with more than 35 employees must provide employees, through employee representatives, with comprehensive information on issues that significantly affect employees.

Holiday pay, wages and bonuses must be paid in accordance with the Holidays Act. Employees earn the right to 5 weeks' paid holiday annually.

Labour protection

Employee representatives, including official representatives, take care of employee interests and safety. They are given special protection against dismissal. This protection also applies in the event of a company transfer.

There is special legislation relating to health information:          

Litigation

Labour law institutions

The Labour Court mainly handles cases concerning violations and interpretations of main contracts and similar agreements with general and principal provisions in the area of collective employment law, violations of other collective agreements relating to wage and working conditions, and the legality of collective action, including its use to support demands for an agreement in areas where a collective agreement has not been entered into.

The Industrial Arbitration Courts are the court of last instance in the labour law system. At the arbitration court, negotiation and mediation meetings are held between the parties. An industrial arbitration decision usually cannot be appealed against.

The Danish Conciliation Board provides assistance if parties in the labour market cannot reach agreement on entering into or renewing contracts.

The following laws regulate the rules for the labour law institutions:

  • The Act on the Labour Court and Industrial Arbitration Courts lay down the rules for bringing cases to court. 
  • The Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes, or the Arbitration Act, as it is known, aims to reconcile the parties, particularly by concluding new agreements.

The Board of Equal Treatment

There is also the Board of Equal Treatment, which is a board assembled to handle complaints of discrimination. The Board deals with:

  • Discrimination within the labour market: complaints related to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, skin colour, religion or faith, political persuasion, sexual orientation, age, disability or national, social or ethnic origin.
  • Discrimination outside the labour market: complaints related to discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin and sex outside work.

Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality

The Board of Equal Treatment is a board assembled to handle discrimination complaints.

Complaints can be lodged with the Board free of charge.

Health and safety at work

Workplace assessment

All companies that have employees must prepare a written workplace assessment (APV). In order to help companies do this, the Danish Working Environment Authority has prepared 62 APV sector-based checklists that are especially aimed at companies with fewer than ten employees.
The APV checklists are offered for use, but are not mandatory. A company can choose which method to use in its APV – as long as it covers all key problems relating to the working environment.

The National Board of Industrial Injuries administers the Danish industrial injury scheme and makes decisions regarding compensation payments and remuneration.

Social insurance

Occupational injury insurance

Employers must insure employees against work-related injuries. Occupational accident insurance must be taken out with an insurance company.

Insurance cover for occupational illness is obtained through contributions to the Labour Market Insurance Scheme for Occupational Illness. The size of the contributions varies between industry groups.

Sick pay

Employees are entitled to sick pay when they are absent owing to illness.

There are employer insurance schemes for sick pay, which are administered by the Danish Agency for Governmental Management.

Resources

A complete overview of labour legislation can be found on the homepage of the Ministry of Employment.

Information for foreign employers and employees concerning working in Denmark can be found on the Ministry of Employment website:

The Ministry of Employment website contains information about unemployment allowances and cash benefits.

Danish Working Environment Authority helps to ensure a safe, healthy and innovative working environment by providing efficient supervision, focused regulation and up-to-date information.

Some of the Danish Trade Working Environment Councils have prepared APV checklists that companies can use instead of – or together with – the checklists by the Danish Working Environment Authority. The Danish Working Environment Authority has also prepared 36 sets of sector-based guidelines on the working environment that companies can read to find out more about working environment requirements and good advice on preventing problems with the working environment.

Information on public health insurance in Denmark can be found at borger.dk. You can also find information there about health insurance for nationals of other EEA Member States.

Information about different types of adult and further training aimed at businesses can be found on the Ministry of Education website, where there is also information about funding for training.

Information and opportunities for self-service public administration can be found on borger.dk.

Help & advice

Help & advice

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