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Global employment briefing: Denmark, June 2018

  • Europe
  • Employment law


A new Danish Holiday Act

In April 2015, the European Commission concluded that holiday provision in Denmark did not comply with Directive 2000/78/EC. The Danish Government therefore formed the Holiday Act Committee with a view to reviewing and simplifying the Danish Holiday Act and ensuring compliance with the Directive. The Committee published a proposal for a new Holiday Act, which was passed by Parliament on 31 October 2017. The new holiday provision under this Act will come into force 1 September 2020.

Current regulation

Current holiday regulation differentiates between the accrual of paid holiday (during the accrual year) and the holiday period (the holiday year). As a result, the existing system may give rise to a situation in which an employee must wait 16 months from accrual of paid holiday before paid holiday can actually be taken.

A new Holiday Act from 2020

The new Act will introduce concurrent holiday so that, going forwards, holiday must be taken in the same year as that in which it is accrued. The period in which accrued holiday can be taken will be the accrual year + 4 months (i.e. a 16 months’ holiday period).

Key provisions:

  • Paid holiday will accrue from 1 September to 31 August the following year.
  • By agreement with the employer, the employee may take non-accrued paid holiday in advance.
  • Holidays are taken from 1 September to 31 December (16 months’ period).
  • Many rules remain unaffected by the legislative changes.
  • The employer may keep the frozen holiday funds during the transition period until the employee leaves the Danish labour market.

A Transitional Period

To facilitate the introduction of concurrent holiday, the new Holiday Act provides for a transitional arrangement which ensures employers are not obliged to provide more than 5 weeks’ of paid holiday to any employee. The transitional arrangement will freeze holiday accrued under the current Holiday Act from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020. This frozen holiday cannot then be taken or paid for in lieu but will be administrated by a special Danish Fund and paid out to the employee when the employee leaves the Danish labour market, for example, on whether or emigration.

For further information, please contact:

Anne Marie Abrahamson, Partner
Tel: +45 3525 2535

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