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Vacation and Leave Policies

Understand the regulations on vacation and other types of leave in Denmark

Holiday leave

In Denmark, employees enjoy substantial vacation rights and flexibility in their leave, thanks to the comprehensive Holiday Act.

Earning and Use Period

Employees earn their vacation entitlement from September 1st to August 31st of the following year. The vacation earned during this period can be used from May 1st of the earning year to December 30th of the following year.

Minimum Entitlement

Every employee is entitled to 5 weeks of paid vacation leave per year. This equates to 25 working days.

Calculating Entitlement

Vacation is accrued at a rate of 2.08 days per month of employment. Employees are allowed to take paid leave as it is accrued, even within their first year of employment.

Main Holiday Period

Employees are required to take at least three consecutive weeks, or 15 working days, of vacation during the main holiday period. This period runs from May 1st to September 30th.


During vacation leave, employees are entitled to receive their full salary. Employers have the option to include a vacation allowance, typically 12.5% of the earned salary, either separately or directly within the regular pay.

Unused Vacation

If the unused vacation exceeds the mandated amount, the excess days can either be carried over or, in some cases, paid out. This depends on agreements and circumstances.

Public holidays

Denmark observes a mixture of national and religious holidays throughout the year. Here's a breakdown of the officially observed public holidays:

Fixed Date Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1st): Celebrates the start of the new calendar year.
  • Constitution Day (June 5th): Celebrates the signing of the Danish Constitution in 1849.
  • Christmas Eve (December 24th): The day before Christmas Day, a major holiday period in Denmark.
  • Christmas Day (December 25th): A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Boxing Day (December 26th): The day after Christmas Day.

Variable Date Holidays

  • Maundy Thursday (March/April): Part of the Christian Holy Week, commemorating the Last Supper before the crucifixion of Jesus. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Good Friday (March/April): A Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Easter Sunday (March/April): A Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Easter Monday (March/April): The day after Easter Sunday. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag) (April/May): A unique Danish prayer holiday falling on the fourth Friday after Easter. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Ascension Day (May/June): A Christian holiday commemorating the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Whit Sunday (May/June): A Christian holiday celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The exact date varies yearly.
  • Whit Monday (May/June): The day after Whit Sunday. The exact date varies yearly.

Types of leave

In Denmark, progressive labor laws provide employees with a range of leave options to balance work and personal life.

Vacation Leave

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5 weeks of paid vacation leave (25 working days) per year as mandated by the Danish Holiday Act. During vacation leave periods, employees receive full salary or a vacation allowance.

Sick Leave

Employees on fixed-term or open-ended contracts are generally entitled to full salary compensation for up to 30 days of sick leave per year if they cannot work due to illness. After two weeks of sick leave, employers can request a doctor's note.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are generally entitled to 4 weeks of leave before the expected childbirth date and 14 weeks after. Eligible employees can receive maternity benefits from the municipality or benefits negotiated in their collective agreement.

Paternity Leave

Fathers are entitled to two consecutive weeks of paternity leave within the first 14 weeks after the birth of their child. Paternity benefits may be available from the municipality or through terms negotiated in collective agreements.

Parental Leave

Each parent has the right to additional parental leave after the initial maternity/paternity leave period. The total amount of shared parental leave is 32 weeks. The specific compensation levels for parental leave can vary and may depend on municipal or collectively bargained benefits.

Special Circumstances Leave

Employees have the right to short-term leave for various special circumstances, such as a child's first day of illness, serious illness or death within the immediate family, or moving days. Compensation for these types of leave may vary depending on circumstances and employment agreements.

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