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Benefits and Entitlements Overview

Learn about mandatory and optional employee benefits in Greenland

Mandatory benefits

In Greenland, employment comes with a set of mandatory benefits outlined in legislation and collective agreements. These benefits are designed to support employee well-being, financial security, and time off.

Core Mandatory Benefits

  • Paid Time Off:
    • Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5 weeks of paid annual leave per year.
    • Public Holidays: Greenland adheres to several public holidays throughout the year, granting employees additional paid days off.
  • Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to paid sick leave from the first day of illness. The specific duration and compensation may vary depending on the employment sector and collective agreements.
  • Maternity Leave: Mothers are entitled to maternity leave of up to 17 weeks, with two weeks before the expected due date and 15 weeks after childbirth.
  • Paternity Leave: Fathers are also entitled to paternity leave, though the exact duration may vary based on collective agreements.
  • Notice Period: Both employers and employees must adhere to a specific notice period when terminating employment. This period is typically dictated by the length of employment.
  • Severance Pay: In cases of redundancy or termination without cause, employees may be entitled to severance pay. The specific amount is determined by legislation and collective agreements.

Social Security Benefits

  • Unemployment Benefits: Unemployed individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits. The eligibility criteria and duration of benefits are outlined in legislation.
  • Pension Fund: Mandatory contributions are made to a pension fund throughout employment.

Optional benefits

In Greenland, while the foundation of mandatory employee benefits is strong, employers often use optional benefits as a strategy to attract and retain top talent.

Financial Security

Employers may offer supplemental pension plans beyond the mandatory contributions. These plans can provide employees with greater flexibility and potentially higher retirement income.

Work-Life Balance

Some progressive companies in Greenland may offer flexible work arrangements. These could include options for remote work or compressed work weeks.

Additional Perks

While Greenland offers universal healthcare, employers might provide supplemental private health insurance. This could grant access to a wider range of specialists or faster service within the public system. Employers may also offer discounts on products or services related to their industry or through partnerships with other businesses. Companies focused on employee well-being may offer subsidized gym memberships or implement workplace wellness programs to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Limited Availability

Due to the nature of Greenland's economy and social safety net, information on optional employee benefits is scarce. The mandatory benefits provide a strong foundation, and employers may place less emphasis on extensive optional packages compared to some other countries.

Health insurance requirements

In Greenland, healthcare is a priority and is provided to all residents through a public system funded by mandatory contributions. This system is applicable to both employees and residents.

Public Health Insurance – The Foundation

Employed individuals are required to contribute to the healthcare system throughout their working life, ensuring access to essential medical services. The public health insurance covers a broad range of services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and medically necessary medications, although some co-pays may be possible.

Despite the comprehensive coverage offered by the public system, certain aspects may influence how employers approach health insurance as a benefit.

Optional Top-Up Insurance

There may be potential limitations with the public system, such as longer waiting times for specialist care or certain procedures. Recognizing this potential drawback, some Greenlandic employers may offer private health insurance plans as optional benefits. These plans can provide quicker access to specialists, additional coverage for certain procedures, or more choice in selecting healthcare providers within the public system.

Important Considerations

The prevalence and specifics of optional top-up plans likely vary depending on the employer and industry. Given that Greenland's healthcare system is well-funded, employers may not universally offer top-up plans as a core benefit.

Retirement plans

Greenland's retirement system is primarily based on a mandatory public pension scheme, with some employers offering potential supplements.

Mandatory Public Pension

Employees and employers contribute a set percentage of earnings to a national pension fund throughout their working lives. To qualify for a full state pension, individuals must reach the statutory retirement age and contribute for a minimum number of years.

  • Retirement Age: Currently 66 years old, with a gradual increase to 67 by 2025.
  • Full Pension: Requires reaching retirement age with at least 35 years of contributions.
  • Reduced Pension: Possible with a minimum of 15 years of contributions, but with lower benefits.

The pension amount is calculated based on average earnings and contribution history. The public pension system is currently undergoing adjustments to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Optional Private Pension Plans

Some employers may offer supplemental private pension plans in addition to the mandatory public scheme. These plans can provide employees with greater flexibility in managing their retirement savings and potentially achieve a higher retirement income compared to the public pension alone. They may also offer investment options allowing for personalized risk management and potential for higher returns.

Limited Information

Data on the prevalence and specifics of employer-sponsored pension plans in Greenland is scarce. The public system provides a solid foundation, and employers may place less emphasis on extensive optional packages compared to some other countries.

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