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Discover everything you need to know about Greenland

Hire in Greenland at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Greenland

Danish Krone
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Greenland

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Greenland, the world's largest island, is predominantly covered by ice, with its habitable areas mainly along the coast. Historically, it has been inhabited since around 2500 BCE, starting with the Saqqaq people, followed by various Paleo-Eskimo cultures, Norse settlers, and finally the Thule people, ancestors of today's Inuit population. Greenland, part of the Kingdom of Denmark, gained home rule in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009.

The island's economy is primarily driven by fishing, particularly shrimp and halibut, with emerging sectors in tourism and mining, although the latter faces environmental concerns. The public sector is the largest employer. Greenland's workforce is small and predominantly Inuit, facing challenges such as skill shortages and the need for flexibility to accommodate traditional lifestyles. Cultural norms emphasize community, direct communication, and egalitarian values.

Climate change significantly impacts Greenland, accelerating ice melt and ecological shifts, which pose both challenges and new economic opportunities through potential new shipping routes and resource access. Despite these prospects, Greenland remains economically dependent on Denmark and faces infrastructural challenges due to its remote and harsh climate.

Taxes in Greenland

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In Greenland, the tax system mandates employers to withhold income tax and social security contributions from employee wages. The tax liability of an employee is determined by their residency status:

  • Full Tax Liability: Applies to residents (those in Greenland for over 183 days). Employers must withhold taxes at progressive rates up to 44%.
  • Limited Tax Liability: Applies to non-residents working temporarily (less than 183 days). Tax rules vary with the duration of stay, with no tax for stays under 14 days.

Employers also have additional responsibilities including payroll taxes, and must register with the Greenland Tax Authority. All employees are eligible for a standard deduction set annually, with residents receiving an additional allowance. Special tax regimes apply to certain industries like oil and gas, where a flat tax rate of 35% is imposed with no deductions.

The VAT system in Greenland imposes a standard rate of 25%, with certain items eligible for a reduced rate of 6%. Businesses must register for VAT if their turnover exceeds DKK 50,000, and comply with monthly VAT returns and payments. Non-compliance can lead to penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Corporate tax is set at a flat rate of 25%, with a 6% surcharge, though certain industries may have exemptions. Greenland offers limited tax incentives, but companies can claim a credit for foreign taxes paid. It is advisable for businesses and employers to seek professional tax advice to navigate the complexities of the Greenlandic tax system.

Leave in Greenland

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Greenland's labor market is influenced by Danish laws and collective agreements, making it difficult to find specific labor regulations in English, as most are in Danish or Greenlandic. Employees in Greenland are likely entitled to five weeks of paid vacation, mirroring Denmark's standards, with full pay during these periods. The most reliable sources for specific vacation entitlements are industry-specific collective agreements.

Public holidays in Greenland include New Year's Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday, General Prayer Day, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday and Monday, Greenland's National Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Second Day of Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Additional local holidays may also be observed.

Other types of leave likely available to employees include sick leave, maternity/parental leave, with specifics typically outlined in collective agreements. While Danish laws provide a general framework, the most accurate leave information can be obtained from employment contracts, collective agreements, or union representatives.

Benefits in Greenland

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In Greenland, employment benefits are governed by legislation and collective agreements, ensuring a robust support system for employees. Key mandatory benefits include:

  • Paid Time Off: Employees receive a minimum of 5 weeks of paid annual leave, along with paid public holidays.
  • Sick Leave: Paid from the first day of illness, with duration and compensation varying by sector.
  • Maternity and Paternity Leave: Up to 17 weeks for mothers and variable for fathers, as per collective agreements.
  • Notice Period and Severance Pay: Required notice periods for termination and severance pay in cases of redundancy.

Social Security Benefits include unemployment benefits and mandatory pension fund contributions, with eligibility and benefits outlined in legislation.

Financial Security is further supported by optional supplemental pension plans offered by some employers, providing greater retirement income flexibility.

Work-Life Balance enhancements include potential options for remote work or compressed work weeks, offered by progressive companies.

Additional Perks might include supplemental private health insurance, providing faster access to specialists and broader coverage, alongside discounts on industry-related products or services, and subsidized gym memberships.

Public Health Insurance is comprehensive, funded by mandatory contributions, covering a wide range of medical services. Optional top-up insurance plans are available to address limitations like longer wait times in the public system.

Mandatory Public Pension involves contributions from both employees and employers, with full benefits requiring a minimum of 35 years of contributions and reaching the retirement age, which is set to increase to 67 by 2025.

Optional Private Pension Plans are available to enhance the public scheme, offering personalized investment options and the potential for higher returns.

Overall, while Greenland provides a strong foundation of mandatory benefits, the availability and specifics of optional benefits can vary by employer and industry, with limited data on their prevalence.

Workers Rights in Greenland

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Greenland's employment termination regulations balance employer flexibility and employee rights, allowing dismissals for reasons like employee conduct, incapacity, and operational requirements. Notice periods vary by tenure, with a maximum of six months for salaried employees. Severance pay may be required for redundancy or unfair dismissal. Greenlandic law prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, with the Equality Council and courts providing redress mechanisms. Employer responsibilities include fostering a discrimination-free workplace and ensuring safety through the Working Environment Act, which mandates risk assessments and safety measures. Employees have rights to a safe work environment and can refuse unsafe work. The Greenlandic Working Environment Authority enforces health and safety regulations, with collaboration emphasized for maintaining workplace safety.

Agreements in Greenland

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In Greenland, employment agreements are divided into Individual Employment Agreements and Collective Bargaining Agreements. Individual agreements are between an employer and an employee, detailing terms like workplace location, job title, start date, employment duration, salary, benefits, and working hours, as mandated by the Employment Contracts Act of 2023. Collective agreements are negotiated between trade unions and employer organizations, setting industry-wide employment standards including wages, overtime, and leave entitlements.

Key components of individual agreements include:

  • Basic Information: Identifies parties, job position, and employment terms.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Details salary, working hours, and leave policies.
  • Termination: Specifies notice periods and grounds for termination.
  • Confidentiality and Intellectual Property: Outlines obligations for protecting company information and intellectual property rights.
  • Dispute Resolution: Establishes the governing law and procedures for resolving disputes.

Probationary periods, while not mandated by law, are common, typically lasting three months with a 14-day notice period for termination during this phase. Confidentiality clauses are enforceable if reasonable and proportional, while non-compete clauses face stricter scrutiny due to less specific regulations.

Remote Work in Greenland

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Greenland lacks a specific law for remote work, but it is influenced by the Greenlandic Working Environment Act, the Danish Executive Order on Telework, and the Danish Personal Data Act. Key technological requirements for remote work include reliable internet, secure remote access, and effective communication tools. Employers must ensure a stable power supply and consider the affordability of technology for employees.

Employer responsibilities include conducting risk assessments, establishing clear remote work policies, ensuring data security, maintaining communication, and addressing ergonomic needs. They should also ensure fair compensation and promote work-life balance for remote workers.

Flexible work arrangements like part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing are available, with terms typically outlined in employment contracts and employer policies. Data protection for remote workers involves adhering to the Danish Personal Data Act, ensuring lawful data processing, implementing strong security measures, and training employees on data security. Employees have rights to access and request corrections or deletions of their personal data.

Best practices for securing data in remote work include limiting data shared, using encrypted communication, educating employees on phishing, encouraging regular data backups, and establishing reporting channels for security issues.

Working Hours in Greenland

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Greenland's Employment Contracts Act governs working hours, setting a daily maximum of 8 hours and a weekly maximum of 40 hours to ensure employee well-being. Typically, employers adopt a 37-hour workweek from Monday to Friday. The Act also regulates overtime, requiring employee consent for more than 4 hours of overtime per day and capping weekly overtime at 48 hours. Overtime compensation is not mandated by law but is usually negotiated in employment contracts or collective agreements.

The Act mandates an 11-hour rest period every 24 hours, with possible exceptions in certain industries or for shift changes. Breaks during work hours are not explicitly defined but are expected to be reasonable and can be negotiated if not specified in contracts.

Night and weekend work regulations are less specific, with compensation typically determined through negotiations or collective agreements rather than mandated by law. Overall, the focus is on maintaining safe and healthy working conditions across all types of work schedules.

Salary in Greenland

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Understanding market competitive salaries in Greenland is essential for both employers and employees. Employers must offer attractive compensation packages to attract and retain talent, while employees need to ensure they are fairly compensated.

Factors Influencing Salaries in Greenland:

  • Job Title and Industry: Salary ranges vary by industry and job role, with management positions generally offering higher pay.
  • Experience and Skills: More experience and specialized skills typically lead to higher earnings.
  • Education and Qualifications: Higher educational achievements and relevant certifications boost earning potential.
  • Location: Salaries differ across regions, with Nuuk offering the highest average salaries.
  • Cost of Living: The high cost of living in Greenland influences salary decisions to maintain a decent living standard.

Resources for Salary Research:

  • Paylab and Salary Surveys from firms like Kroll Consultants provide insights, though they may be costly and less comprehensive.

Public Sector Wages:

  • Determined through collective bargaining, with minimum wages set based on experience. Public information on these rates can be scarce and may require direct contact with government agencies or unions.

Additional Compensation Elements:

  • Performance-Based Bonuses: Linked to individual or company performance metrics.
  • Industry-Specific Allowances: Includes location allowances for remote areas and shift differentials for non-standard work hours.
  • Social Benefits: Employer-sponsored pension plans, possibly supplemented private health insurance, and additional parental leave beyond the mandated.

Employment Practices:

  • Frequency of Payment: Often determined by collective agreements, with monthly payments being most common.
  • Salary Payment Date: Typically at the end of the month or a specific weekday, as outlined in employment contracts.
  • Salary Components: Include basic salary, overtime pay, and vacation pay.
  • Deductions and Withholdings: Employers withhold taxes and social security contributions, which are then remitted to the authorities.

Understanding these components is crucial for navigating the employment landscape in Greenland effectively.

Termination in Greenland

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In Greenland, the Salaried Employees Act governs notice periods and severance pay during employment termination. Notice periods for employers vary based on the employee's length of service, ranging from no required notice for less than 6 months of employment to a maximum of 6 months for employment of 9 years or more. Employees can terminate their employment with one month's notice. Severance pay is not generally mandated but may be specified in employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements, particularly for terminations due to economic, operational, or structural reasons after at least 8 years of service. Employers must provide written notice for termination, and immediate dismissal is allowed only in cases of serious misconduct. Collective bargaining agreements may also influence termination procedures.

Freelancing in Greenland

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In Greenland, the distinction between employees and independent contractors is influenced by Danish labor law, primarily using the control test to determine the level of employer authority over a worker. Employees are controlled more directly by employers, while independent contractors maintain autonomy over their work methods. This classification affects legal rights and obligations, including wages, benefits, and tax implications.

Contract structures for independent contractors in Greenland vary, including fixed-price, time-based, and performance-based contracts, each with specific benefits and risks. Effective negotiation of contract terms is crucial, covering deliverables, fees, payment terms, and termination clauses.

Opportunities for independent contractors are present in sectors like construction, tourism, translation, and IT. Intellectual property rights, based on the Danish Copyright Act, generally favor the freelancer as the initial rights holder, with the ability to transfer or specify usage rights through contractual agreements.

Freelancers in Greenland must manage their own taxes and can voluntarily contribute to social security for benefits like pension and healthcare. They also have various insurance options, including public health insurance through SIK or private plans, and can opt for additional coverages like professional indemnity insurance.

Health & Safety in Greenland

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The Greenland Working Environment Act is essential for maintaining health and safety standards in Greenland, outlining responsibilities for both employers and employees. Employers must assess risks, implement safety measures, provide training, and report incidents, while employees can refuse unsafe work and participate in safety matters without discrimination.

Key aspects of the Act include:

  • Regulations: Address specific hazards and industries such as chemicals, construction, and fishing.
  • Workplace Safety Committees: Required in workplaces with 10 or more employees to oversee risk assessments, inspections, and safety training.
  • Trade Unions: Play a significant role in advocating for health and safety through participation in committees and negotiations.
  • Workplace Conditions: Standards for ventilation, lighting, temperature, and noise are set to ensure a safe working environment.
  • Chemical and Physical Hazards: Employers must provide data sheets for chemicals, ensure machinery safety, and comply with electrical and fire safety standards.
  • Industry-Specific Standards: Special regulations for industries like mining, fishing, and construction address unique risks.
  • Psychosocial Work Environment: Employers must manage workplace stress and harassment, with policies to support work-life balance.

The Act also mandates regular workplace inspections by the Working Environment Authority to enforce compliance, with penalties for non-compliance including fines and imprisonment. Additionally, Greenland has a workers' compensation system to support employees injured at work.

Dispute Resolution in Greenland

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Greenland handles labor disputes through the Danish court system, utilizing mechanisms similar to those in mainland Denmark. The Danish Labor Court addresses collective labor disputes, while individual disputes are managed by regular courts. Arbitration is also available for resolving labor disputes under collective agreements. The Danish Collective Agreements Act, Administration of Justice Act, and Arbitration Act provide the legal frameworks for these processes.

In Greenland, labor laws from Denmark apply, ensuring a consistent regulatory framework. Greenlandic employers and workers often fall under collective agreements negotiated in Denmark. Compliance with labor standards is monitored through inspections conducted by Danish and specific Greenlandic regulatory bodies, focusing on industries like mining, fishing, and construction. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, including fines, operational suspensions, or closures.

Whistleblower protections in Greenland are primarily based on Danish law, with specific local ordinances potentially in place. The Danish Act on Protection of Whistleblowers offers protections, subject to conditions, against retaliation for reporting wrongdoing.

Greenland, as part of the Kingdom of Denmark, adheres to international labor conventions ratified by Denmark, including all eight fundamental ILO conventions, which cover rights such as freedom of association, collective bargaining, and non-discrimination in employment. Domestic laws in Greenland align with these international standards, influenced by Danish legislation and ILO conventions. Monitoring and enforcement of labor obligations are integrated with Danish systems, with additional oversight from EU institutions due to Denmark's EU membership.

Cultural Considerations in Greenland

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Greenland's work environment uniquely blends Inuit cultural values with Danish influences, creating a communication style that is indirect yet respectful, known as Kalaallit Qaqortoq. This style emphasizes harmony and avoids confrontation, often using suggestive language and deferring to seniority. Despite a touch of formality due to its colonial history with Denmark, the workplace is generally egalitarian and collaborative.

Non-verbal communication, including the use of silence and body language, plays a significant role in conveying respect and attentiveness. Building personal relationships is crucial in business, often starting with informal interactions such as sharing coffee or small talk.

Negotiation in Greenland also reflects these cultural values, focusing on patience, consensus building, and long-term relationships. The approach is collaborative, guided by the principle of Qaujimaaqatigiit (knowing each other), and decisions are typically reached through a consultative process involving multiple stakeholders.

Business hierarchies in Greenland may be influenced by traditional Inuit culture, which values consensus and collaboration, often leading to flatter organizational structures. Management styles may incorporate elements of paternalism and consultative decision-making, reflecting the community-oriented nature of Inuit culture.

Understanding Greenland's cultural and management practices, including statutory holidays and national observances, is essential for effective business operations within this unique cultural context.

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