Engage In Denmark

Table of Contents

About Denmark

Capital City

Copenhagen

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Denmark is 5.9 million.

Currency

The currency in Denmark is the Danish Krone (DKK). The currency symbol is kr.

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Overview

Denmark, located in the North of Europe, is a captivating Scandinavian country that boasts a unique blend of stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and a modern, progressive society. Surrounded by 500 islands, including the Jutland peninsula and the largest island Zealand, Denmark presents a diverse and picturesque setting. With its charming capital city Copenhagen, known for its iconic Nyhavn harbor and historic landmarks like the Little Mermaid statue, Denmark offers a delightful fusion of old-world charm and contemporary liveliness. The Danish population of approximately 5½ million people enjoys a high standard of living, reflecting the country’s strong social safety net and commitment to well-being. Renowned for its emphasis on hygge, a concept of coziness and contentment, Denmark consistently ranks as one of the world’s happiest nations. Besides its cultural treasures, Denmark is also recognized for its seafood delights, making it a paradise for culinary enthusiasts. With its friendly and English-speaking population, Denmark welcomes international visitors, offering them an immersive experience of its fairy-tale-like atmosphere and modern amenities.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

The labor code of Denmark defines permanent employees as employees who are in an indefinite employment relationship with the employer. Employees whose employment relationship expires when they reach retirement age or who are entitled to receive a retirement pension from the employer are not temporary employees.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Fixed-term employment is established directly between the employee and an employer where the date of the employment relationship is determined based on objective criteria such as a particular date, completion of a specific task or the conclusion of a certain event, and is renewable under specific conditions. The law requires that the conditions of employment for fixed-term employees are as favorable as those for permanent employees. Renewal of several consecutive fixed-term employment contracts can only take place if the renewals are justified by objective conditions.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

The Law No. 595 of 2013 applies to temporary workers who have entered into an employment contract or employment relationship with a Danish or foreign temporary agency and are sent by the temporary agency to user companies in Denmark to temporarily carry out duties under their supervision and management. The law applies to for-profit and non-profit enterprises, and, among other things, obligates the temporary agency to ensure that temporary workers during their posting to a user company receive at least the same treatment as workers employed directly by the user company to carry out the same tasks. The user company must ensure that temporary staff are informed of any vacancies in the user company, so that they have the same opportunity to obtain permanent employment as other employees in the company. Temporary staff must have access to the user company's collective facilities and goods, including canteen, childcare and transport facilities, on the same terms as employees who are employed directly by the company.

Probationary Period

Per the law in Denmark, the maximum probationary period for salaried employees is set at 3 months. During the probationary period, an employer is required to give 14 days' notice to terminate the contract, while an employee can terminate without notice. A contract may provide for a longer notice of termination for a salaried employee if the length of the employer's notice of termination is extended accordingly. Probationary periods for non-salaried employees are generally set by collective agreements.

Working Hours

Per the labor law of Denmark, an employee's weekly working time must not exceed 48 hours on average over a period of 4 months, including overtime. Periods of annual paid leave and periods of sick leave are not included in or are neutral in relation to the calculation of the average.  Employers must give a rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours within every period of 24 hours. There must be at least one 24-hour rest period per week. The employer must do their best to ensure that this period falls on a Sunday and that all employees take this rest at the same time. The regular daily working hours for night workers must not exceed an average of 8 hours over a period of 4 months. Where a night worker is employed for particularly hazardous work or for work that involves a significant physical or mental strain, no more than 8 hours shall be worked in a 24-hour period during which night work is performed. 

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

In Denmark, the official public holidays are those recognized by the Church of Denmark. For 2023, these are:

  • April 6: Maundy Thursday
  • April 7: Good Friday
  • 10 April: 2nd Easter Sunday
  • May 5: Great day of prayer
  • May 18: Ascension Day
  • 19 May: Bank closure day
  • 29 May: 2nd Pentecost
  • 5 June: Bank closure day
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • December 26: Boxing Day

Paid Annual Leave

Under Denmark's Holiday Act, employees are entitled to 5 weeks of paid leave per year. Leave is earned continuously from September 1 to August 31 of the following year (12 months), and 2.08 days of paid leave are earned for each month of employment. For periods of employment of less than 1 month, the holiday is earned in proportion to the length of employment. Employees can earn and take their leave at the same time over a 16-month period. The right to paid annual leave does not accrue during periods in which the employee participates in a strike or lockout or during paid maternity or sick leave. 

Sick Leave

Employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury are entitled to sickness benefits under Denmark's Act on Sickness Benefits. Employees qualify for sickness benefits if they have been employed for at least 240 hours in the past 6 months, and for at least 40 hours in at least 5 of these months. The employer pays sickness benefits to employees on sick leave for 30 calendar days from the first day of absence. After the first 30 calendar days of sickness, the municipality will pay the employee sickness benefits. Salaried employees are entitled to full pay from their employer for the first 30 days of sick leave absence, while most collective agreements provide the same for hourly employees.

Maternity Leave

Denmark's Maternity Act grants pregnant employees four weeks of maternity leave prior to birth and 14 weeks of maternity leave after delivery. After the first 14 weeks of maternity leave, each parent has the right to parental leave of up to 32 weeks. Additionally, employed parents may extend their leave by up to 14 weeks, although the maternity benefit amount will be decreased. The law also allows parents to resume working and postpone up to 32 weeks of parental leave (it can be used until the child has turned nine years of age). However, parents who extended their leave by an additional 14 weeks cannot postpone it. 

Paternity Leave

Denmark's labor law grants employees the right to two consecutive weeks of paternity leave within 14 weeks after the birth of the child. Both parents are entitled to receive the statutory maternity leave pay throughout the leave period unless stated otherwise in the contract of employment. The father retains this entitlement if the child is stillborn or passes away soon after birth. The father or co-mother enters into the mother's right to leave, if the mother dies or becomes unable to care for the child due to illness. Fathers can extend their parental leave for a total of two months post-delivery. In case of adoption, both parents can take up to four weeks of paid leave, and in some cases, they may be eligible for eight weeks of paid parental leave.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

Denmark's labor law stipulates that employers must give notice before terminating a salaried employee. The termination notice period applicable to both the employee and employer is often stated in the collective agreements for hourly employees. For salaried employees, the notice period is dependent on their years of service, ranging from 1 month to 6 months. If the employment relationship is temporary and does not exceed 1 month, no notice period is required. If the employment is probationary and does not exceed three months, the employer must provide at least 14 days' notice, while the employee is not required to give notice.

Severance Benefits

The law in Denmark entitles dismissed salaried employees to severance pay if the employee has been continuously working for the same company for at least 12 years. Severance benefits are provided as follows: Employees are entitled to 1 month’s salary if they have worked for the same employer between 12 and 15 years. Employees are entitled to 2 months’ salary if they have worked for the same employer between 15 and 17 years. Employees are entitled to 3 months of salary if they have worked for the same company for 17 years or more. No severance benefits are paid if the employee receives a retirement pension from the employer upon dismissal.

Social Security

Pension

In Denmark, persons are entitled to receive retirement income through three different pension schemes: a public/state pension (statutory pension), a pension created through employment (labor market pensions), and an individual pension.  To receive the full pension amount, a person must have lived in Denmark for at least 40 years. A person who lived in Denmark fewer than 40 years between the ages of 15 and the retirement age can receive a partial pension.  The state pension has two parts: a basic pension and a supplemental pension. A person's basic pension and supplemental pension can lapse completely if they earn over a certain amount of unearned income. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

An employer is required to pay benefits to a surviving spouse and children in case of an employee's death: One month's salary if the employee has worked for one year Two months' salary if the employee has worked for two years Three months' salary if the employee has worked for more than three years The Labor Market Business Insurance handles workers' compensation claims. There are three possible benefits for survivors who lost someone to a workplace accident or occupational disease: a transitional allowance, compensation for surviving spouse, partner, or children, and special compensation for surviving dependents. In 2023, the compensation rates are: Maximum compensation for surviving dependent, spouse: DKK 180,276 Compensation for surviving dependent, child, 10% maximum: DKK 36,060 Compensation for surviving dependent, child, 15% maximum: DKK 54,084 Compensation for surviving dependent, child, 20% maximum: DKK 72,120

Invalidity Benefit

Denmark's Act on Social Services provides for disability assistance for people with permanent physical and mental impairments. The Government of Denmark pays entirely for the disability pensions, without any contributions from the employees or the employers. Municipalities are responsible for providing support to individuals, and district councils decide on the type and amount of assistance. The application for pension is to be submitted to the municipal council. To be approved for disability, individuals have to show that their ability to work is substantially and permanently reduced to such a degree that work of any kind is impossible. Applicants are required to go through a rehabilitation program first to see if their ability to work can improve. A disability application will be denied if the ability to work improves with treatment and activity unless the applicant is within 5 years of the retirement age. Disability payments are subject to income tests. Permanent disability pension payments are up to DKK 288,444 annually for a single person as of 2023; eligible individuals may be subject to different requirements and amounts. Persons with permanent disabilities also can apply for other assistance, including supplemental income for additional expenses.  

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

The income tax year in Denmark is the same as the calendar year. Taxes are paid on the national and municipal levels, and there are additional taxes for the church affiliation. A married man is taxed on the income of his cohabiting wife and children.   A personal allowance of DKK 48,000 (Danish kroner) applies to the personal income of taxpayers for 2023. Residents are subject to the following taxes for the year 2023, depending on the type of income: Equity income – 27% below the income of DKK 58,900 and 42% above it Employment income – 8% tax on income over deduction of 10.65% of the income (limited to DKK 45,600). There is an additional deduction of 6.25% provided to single parents, limited to a maximum of DKK 24,400 Bottom tax – a tax that everyone who has income pays on the amount of personal income that exceeds the personal allowance) – 12.10% Top tax – 15% of the personal income that exceeds DKK 568,900 Tax ceiling on personal income – total tax rate on the personal income, municipal tax + health contribution + bottom tax + top tax) – 52.07% Health contributions – tax abolished from 2019

Immigration

Types of Visas

The immigration law of Denmark requires a visa for entry into the country unless the individual is exempt from the visa requirements. The following individuals are exempt from the visa requirements: Citizens of Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden Foreign nationals who are nationals of a country that is affiliated with the European Union Foreign nationals who hold an EU residence card issued in another Schengen country Foreign nationals who possess an EU residence card issued by a non-Schengen country when accompanying or joining the EU citizen Foreign nationals with a residence permit or long-term visa in another Schengen country Foreign nationals who are exempted from European Union visa rules Foreign nationals who are nationals of a country with which Denmark has entered into a visa-free agreement Denmark issues national long-stay visas and Schengen visas, valid for all Schengen countries. The visa is valid for 180 days, but a continuous stay in any Schengen country is limited to 90 days. Foreign nationals who wish to study in Denmark are required to obtain a residence permit.

Work Permit

Citizens from the Nordic countries, the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are entitled to work in Denmark without a permit. However, persons who are EEA or Swiss citizens and intend to reside in Denmark for more than three months must apply for an EU residence document. Other foreign nationals who wish to be employed in Denmark are required to obtain work permits. The work permit is granted to foreign nationals who have stayed in Denmark for at least 6 months with a residence permit. The Danish Immigration Service concludes a contract of employment with the foreign national who has the right to be advised about the terms of employment either orally or in writing.

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