Rules on maternity/paternity

Learn about your rights in connection with maternity/paternity. Please note that special rules apply to insurance agents.

Before childbirth

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When must I give notice about my maternity/paternity leave?

You must notify your employer both before and during your maternity/paternity leave. Finansforbundet (Financial Services Union Denmark) recommends that you give written notice.

  • As a mother, you must give your employer three months' notice of the expected date of birth and state whether you want to use your right to absence before childbirth. It may, however, be a good idea to reveal your condition earlier to secure yourself against dismissal – or during fertility treatment.
  • As a father, you must give your employer four weeks' notice of the expected date of birth if you want to take the 2/4 weeks' leave in connection with the childbirth/reception of the child.
  • Both mother and father must inform their employers within eight weeks of the childbirth/reception of the child of how much leave you will take and how you intend to take it. This also applies to the period without income and periods that you wish to postpone.

You are entitled to change the leave of absence, provided that your employer gets a new notice before the eight-week deadline expires. When the eight-week deadline has expired, you can generally not change the notified leave without the employer's consent.

If your child is hospitalised, you must inform your employer as quickly as possible if it means that you postpone or extend your leave.

If one of you has postponed between 8 and 13 weeks of the leave on a legal basis, the employer must be given 16 weeks' notice before the date when you want to take the postponed leave.

When am I entitled to absence and leave?

You are entitled to absence from work when you are going to medical check-ups. You are entitled to start your actual maternity leave four weeks before the due date. The expected time of birth/your due date is assessed by your doctor/hospital and is stated in the pregnancy record.

The date on which the birth is expected to take place is included in the four-week period. You find your first day of leave by counting 28 days backwards from the due date, including the due date.

You decide whether you will use your right and take leave. You can also choose to take part-time leave. In that case, you will receive reduced government benefits (or the employer will receive reduced reimbursement).

The length of the leave after childbirth is not affected by you postponing the start of your leave. Giving birth before or after the expected time of delivery will not affect the length of the leave after the birth.

What rights do I have if I get ill during pregnancy?

You are entitled to paid absence earlier than four weeks before the expected delivery date in cases where, according to a medical assessment, pregnancy complications have arisen.

Complications include:

  • threatened abortion
  • pre-eclampsia with high blood pressure, protein in the urine and/or oedema
  • pregnancy with twins or triplets, which increases the risk of abortion or premature birth
  • vaginal bleeding
  • placenta previa
  • symphysis pubis dysfunction
  • special cases with severe and/or frequent vomiting that affects your general condition (e.g. weight loss) and results in incapacity for work
  • serious mental disorders in connection with pregnancy, including cases of pregnancy stress syndrome
  • absence due to special examinations, such as amniocentesis or CVS, when the examination means that you are absent for a full day
  • normal pregnancy complaints when, in the individual case, the complaints are of such a nature that the doctor deems you unable to work.

Taking maternity/paternity leave

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Rules on maternity/paternity leave in the 1st to 14th week after childbirth

Mother

  • The mother is entitled to 14 weeks' maternity leave after childbirth. The period is reckoned as from the calendar day after the day on which your child was born.
  • You are obliged to take leave in the first two weeks after childbirth.

 

Father

  • According to the statutory maternity/paternity provisions, the father is, in the 14-week period, entitled to paternal leave for a consecutive period of up to two weeks after the child was born, or when mother and child have returned home. The paternal leave may also start on the day of the birth.

  • Under the collective agreement, you are entitled to up to four weeks' paid leave before the expiry of the 14-week period, provided that your employer receives reimbursement of government benefits for the period. This means that you use two weeks of the 32-week period in advance.

  • You may take your paid paternity leave at any time within the 14-week period. The leave must be taken either as a consecutive period or as two periods of two weeks. Two of the weeks may also be taken in weeks 15 – 60 after the birth.

  • In very special cases, you may take over the mother's right to leave in the first 14 weeks. This may, for instance, be the case if the mother dies or is unable to care for the child because of illness.

Rules on maternity/paternity leave in the subsequent 32 weeks

As parents, you are each entitled to absence for 32 weeks after the 14-week period. However, you are only entitled to a total of 32 weeks' leave with government benefits.

You are free to divide the 32 weeks between you. You can take the leave together, by turns or in continuation of each other. The father also has the option of using, in advance, some of the weeks of the 32-week period in the mother's 14-week period.

The person taking the leave must be in employment at the time of the leave. When one of you takes leave, the government benefits will be calculated on the basis of that person's number of hours and hourly pay at the time of the leave.

Can I postpone part of my maternity/paternity leave?

You have the option of postponing part of your maternity/paternity leave. The postponed leave weeks must be taken before the child turns nine. After that date, the leave period not taken lapses.

There are two types of postponement that you can combine – rights-based and agreement-based.

With rights-based postponement of leave, one of you have the option of postponing at least eight weeks and no more than 13 weeks for later use. You must take the postponed period as one consecutive period. You must notify your employer no later than eight weeks after the birth that you want to postpone the rights-based leave. The person taking the leave must notify the employer 16 weeks before the leave is taken. You maintain the right to the postponed leave in relation to a new employer.

You may also agree with the employer to postpone up to 32 weeks' leave. You can both use this option. In this case, there is an option of taking the postponed weeks little by little. This means that you can take the postponed leave as hours and days. If you change jobs, you must renegotiate the agreement with the new employer. There are no notification rules in connection with the taking of leave.

Can I extend my maternity/paternity leave?

All parents can extend the 32 weeks' maternity/paternity leave by eight weeks, to a total of 40 weeks, while only employed salary earners and self-employed persons can extend the 32 weeks by 14 weeks to a total of 46 weeks.

If you choose to extend the leave, you must take the leave as one consecutive period.

In case of hospitalisation

Your maternity/paternity leave may be extended if your child is hospitalised during the first 46 weeks after the birth. You can extend the leave by the number of days that your child is hospitalised – up to three months.

The right to extend the leave does not apply to the father's leave in the two weeks within the first 14 weeks.

The extension of leave is subject to the condition that work is not resumed in connection with the child's hospitalisation.

In case of multiple birth

If you have twins or multiples, and they are hospitalised in connection with the birth, their discharge is reckoned from the date when the last child is discharged. You can extend the leave by a maximum of three months.

Can I resume work during the leave period?

You can either resume work in the leave period with or without extending the leave.

 

Resumption of work with extension

You can resume work partially during the leave period and in this way extend the leave period by the time that you work. The mother, however, may not resume work during the first two weeks after the birth. The father may also extend his two-week paternity leave.

It is only possible to extend the leave by partially resuming work if you can make an agreement to this effect with your employer.

 

Resumption of work without extension

You can also agree with your employer that you partially resume work during the leave period without extending the leave.

Please note, however, that you will lose the leave with government benefits for the period in which you resume work. The local authority pays government benefits for the hours in which you take leave.

If you resume work without having agreed extension, you only receive government benefits if your absence is at least 20% of the usual working hours.

 

How many hours can I work?

Partial resumption of work means that you can resume work with working hours that are shorter than usual working hours. In principle, this means that if you work 37 hours, you can resume work by up to 36 hours.

You have a duty to provide documentation to Udbetaling Danmark that you have entered into an agreement on extension of the leave period. We recommend that the agreement be in writing.

Example: You want to use the last seven weeks' leave to resume work on a part-time basis. According to an agreement with your employer, you want to work 30 hours and take leave for seven hours per week. This means that you can work 30 hours and take leave for seven hours for a total of 37 weeks.

Am I entitled to part-time employment?

You are entitled to part-time employment up to and including week 60 after the birth. If you and your employer do not reach agreement, you are entitled to part-time employment on half time.

If, by local negotiation, you cannot agree on the reduced working hours, you are entitled to part-time employment on half time. You must notify your employer within eight weeks of the birth.

The company pays the employee's as well as the company's usual pension contributions in the period.

Example: A mother in the financial sector wants to take maternity leave with full pay up to and including week 26. From week 27 up to and including week 60, she wants to work part-time while, at the same time, her husband takes full paternity leave on government benefits for 20 weeks from week 27.

Am I entitled to return to the same job?

Parents who have used the right to absence pursuant to sections 6-14 of the Maternity Leave Act are entitled to return to the same or a similar job on terms of employment that are not less favourable to them and to benefit from any improvement in the terms of employment to which they would have been entitled during their absence.

If your job changes significantly, this will be comparable with a notice of termination from your employer.

Special protection provisions in the Danish Equal Opportunities Act apply in case of dismissal due to maternity/paternity.

Pay, government benefits, holidays, etc.

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What pay am I entitled to during maternity/paternity leave?

Under the collective agreements in the FA's and Finansforbundet's area, full pay depends on whether your employer is able to obtain a full government refund, which corresponds to at least 32/46 of the maximum government benefit amount.

  • As a mother you are entitled to full pay from four weeks before the expected date of delivery to 14 weeks after the birth.
  • As a father you are entitled to consecutive paternity leave with full pay for up to four weeks. You can take the four-week paternity leave as a consecutive period or divided into two periods of two weeks.
    You must take two of the paternity leave weeks within the first 14 weeks of the birth. You are free to take the other two weeks before week 60 after the birth.
    If you take four parental leave weeks, you use two weeks of the 32-week government benefit period.
  • In addition, both mother and father are entitled to consecutive leave for up to 12 weeks with full pay, which you are free to take in the period from week 15 to 60 after the birth.
    You can take the leave as a consecutive period or divided into 2 x 6 weeks.
    If you are both covered by Finansforbundet's collective agreement, you are both entitled to 12 weeks with full pay.

Pay in case of extended maternity/paternity leave

If you extend the leave by 8 or 14 weeks, and if, as a consequence of this, you receive reduced government benefits, you are still entitled to full pay, provided that the government benefit refund is at least 32/46 of the maximum government benefit amount. You must contact Udbetaling Danmark yourselves to ask for reduced government benefits.

You can also receive full pay in the periods in which you are entitled to government benefits under the Maternity Leave Act, during pregnancy-related illness, the child's hospitalisation for up to three months and if the child dies.

 

Pay negotiations and maternity/paternity leave

When you are on maternity/paternity leave, you have exactly the same rights and obligations as if you had not been on leave. This means that you have a right to be informed about the times of any pay discussions or pay negotiations conducted in your company while you are on leave. Thus, the maternity/paternity leave must not be the reason that your salary does not develop as expected, or that you do not have access to pay negotiations.

It may be a good idea that you make an agreement with your superior well in advance of your leave about when and how you negotiate pay the next time. In this connection, you should remember that you can always ask for pay negotiations, even if it is not stated directly in your collective agreement.

What benefit amount am I entitled to during maternity/paternity leave?

According to the maternity/paternity provisions, you as parents are entitled to a total of 52 weeks' maternity/paternity leave with full government benefits. The 52 weeks are distributed as follows: four weeks before and 14 weeks after the birth for the mother, two weeks for the father and 32 weeks to be divided between the mother and father.

As a main rule, it is a condition for the right to government benefits that you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you have been attached to the labour market the day before the absence
  • on the first day of absence you are in employment. Furthermore, you must have been employed for at least 160 hours within the last four calendar months prior to the absence period, and for at least three of these months you have been employed for at least 40 hours per month.

Government benefits are calculated on the basis of the hourly pay you lose by being absent after deduction of labour market contribution, and the number of hours you should have worked.

At 1 January 2018, the highest benefit amount is DKK 116,22 per hour and a maximum of DKK 4,300 per week. Please note that government benefits are paid in arrears.

Example: If you work 30 hours per week, you will receive a maximum of 30 hours x hourly maximum of benefits, i.e. 30 x DKK 116.22 = DKK 3,486 per week before tax.

Udbetaling Danmark administers the maternity/paternity rules and pays government benefits, including payment of the refund to your employer.

 

Government benefits in case of extended maternity/paternity leave

You have the right to full government benefits for 32 weeks, which means that you receive government benefits corresponding to 32 weeks for 40 or 46 weeks, respectively.

It is your own responsibility to point out to Udbetaling Danmark that you want your government benefits for 32 weeks to be extended to 40 or 46 weeks. Please note in this connection that the father uses two of the 32 weeks' government benefits if he takes paternity leave for four weeks.

Extension of the government period will not take effect until the date when you inform Udbetaling Danmark that you want to extend the 32-week government benefit period. Please note that sometimes incorrect instructions are given to the effect that the government benefits should not be reduced until after the end of the salary period. If you follow those instructions, you will lose money.

It is important that you ensure that at least 32/46 of the highest amount of government benefits are refunded to the employer for you to be entitled to pay according to the collective agreement.

 

If your child is hospitalised and you resume work

If you as parents on leave choose to resume work when your child is hospitalised, you postpone the right to government benefits for the remaining period. The paternity leave can also be divided.

It is a condition for postponing the leave that your child is discharged within 60 weeks of the birth, and you must stop working as soon as the child is discharged.

You must provide documentation that your child is hospitalised, e.g. by an admission note and discharge report, transcript of the medical record or a medical certificate.

 

If your child dies

If your child is stillborn or dies before week 32 after delivery, the mother is entitled to government benefits for 14 weeks after the death of the child.

The father is entitled to government benefits for two consecutive weeks after the birth if the child is stillborn.

You are not entitled to government benefits if your child dies or is put up for adoption after week 32 after delivery. Instead, you may be entitled to sickness benefits if you are considered to be unfit for work, for instance for mental reasons.

If the mother has a pregnancy-related illness in connection with the stillbirth or death of the child, she can get government benefits, but for no more than 46 weeks after the birth.

Are pension contributions paid during maternity/paternity leave?

If you take full or partial maternity/paternity leave without pay from the company, the company pays both your and the company's usual pension contributions, but for no longer than 60 weeks after the birth.

Do I accrue holiday during maternity/paternity leave?

Your possibility of accruing holiday with pay during the maternity/paternity leave depends on whether you receive pay and pension contributions during the period.

When you are on maternity/paternity leave, you accrue the right to:

  • holiday with pay in that part of the leave in which you receive full or partial pay pursuant to section 7 of the Holiday with Pay Act
  • holiday with pay on the days on which you both work and take maternity/paternity leave. This requires, however, that you are still employed with the employer when you take your holiday
  • holiday with pay if you take full or partial leave without pay, but where the employer pays pension contributions. The maximum period is to week 60 after the birth.

 

If you receive government benefits without full pension contributions in some periods
If, in some periods during the maternity/paternity leave, you only receive government benefits and full pension contributions are not paid, you do not accrue entitlement to holiday with pay from your employer. If you are a member of an unemployment fund, you can accrue entitlement to holiday benefits based on the government benefits received if you meet the conditions.

You accrue 2.08 days of paid holiday for each month of paid employment in the holiday qualifying year. If you resume work in such manner that, for example, you work four days a week and is on maternity/paternity leave one day a week, you do not accrue full holiday entitlement with the employer but only 0.07 days of paid holiday per day of employment with full or partial pay.

If you are on leave or take rights-based extended or postponed leave

If you take full-time leave, rights-based extended leave or rights-based postponed leave, the maternity/paternity leave is considered a holiday obstacle. In the above situations you have the possibility of having your holiday pay paid out.

Another possibility is to agree with your employer to have the holiday transferred to the next holiday year.

Will I keep my childcare days even if I do not manage to take them?

If you have not had the possibility of taking your childcare days, they will be deposited in your hour bank account at the end of the year, following which you can choose to have them converted to pay or take them as time off in lieu. This applies unless otherwise agreed locally.

When you start work again after the maternity/paternity leave, you will be entitled to childcare days in relation to what time of the year you start.

Can I receive instruction or participate in union work?

You are allowed to participate in training or education during your maternity/paternity leave without this affecting your government benefits.

If you take leave from your ordinary job but continue with union work where you have paid time off according to the standard collective agreement, a deduction will usually be made in the government benefits, and consequently this may affect your pay or the government benefits. We recommend that in the specific situation you contact Udbetaling Danmark to get their assessment of your case.

Must I pay full membership fee to Finansforbundet during the leave?

In that part of the period in which you only receive government benefits, you can choose to be a dormant member of Finansforbundet. However, this provision does not apply to unemployed members.

You maintain your full membership rights.

Special maternity/paternity provisions

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Maternity/paternity leave for employees not covered by a collective agreement

If you are not employed under a collective agreement, the individual terms agreed in your employment contract apply.

As a salaried employee, you are as a minimum entitled to half pay from four weeks before the expected birth to 14 weeks after the birth.

However, you should be aware that today all employers are required to be members of a maternity equalisation scheme. What rules apply depends on the maternity equalisation scheme of which your employer is a member.

If your employer is a member of Barsel.dk, he is entitled to a refund for employees who receive full or partial pay during maternity/paternity leave and have a right to government benefits.

The refund is the difference between government benefits and pay during maternity/paternity leave, but with a ceiling of DKK 189,50 kr. per hour in total refund from Udbetaling Danmark and Barsel.dk. Holiday allowance must be added to this amount.

For mothers, the refund constitutes pay in the period from four weeks before the expected birth to two weeks after the birth. For fathers, the refund constitutes pay during two weeks' paternity leave. In addition, a refund for 25 weeks can be granted to be divided between the parents.

If you are already entitled to full pay during maternity leave for 24 weeks, it is of no importance to you. If, on the other hand, your maternity terms are limited, for example to half pay from four weeks before the expected birth to 14 weeks after the birth, there are good reasons for your employer to give you better terms and pay at least the salary that corresponds to the maximum refund that your employer can get from the maternity equalisation scheme.

Consequently, you should conclude an agreement with your employer about having your employment contract adjusted in line with the refund provisions of Barsel.dk.

One wording could be: "During maternity leave, the employee will as a minimum receive pay corresponding to the maximum refund in the period in which the company can receive a refund; see the Danish Act on Maternity Equalisation."

Or even better: "During maternity leave, the employee will receive full pay in the period in which the company can receive a refund; see the Danish Act on Maternity Equalisation."

You should be aware that there may also be other maternity equalisation schemes in the private labour market, e.g. DA-Barsel.

Special maternity/paternity leave provisions for insurance agents

Special maternity/paternity leave provisions apply to insurance agents. If you receive a salary, you will be paid fixed salary components and in addition sick pay.

Under the collective agreement for insurance agents, as an insurance agent you are entitled to pay during leave in the following periods:

  • The mother is entitled to paid leave four weeks before the expected date of birth to 14 weeks after the birth.
  • The father is entitled to up to four weeks' consecutive parental leave before the first 14 weeks of the maternity leave expires.
  • Subsequently, you are entitled to up to ten weeks' consecutive paid leave, which you can choose to take in the period from week 15 to week 60 after the birth.
  • It is a condition for the right to pay that your employer can get a refund of government benefits from the local authority, corresponding to at least 32/46 of the maximum amount of government benefits.
  • You are also entitled to pay if your child is hospitalised; see the Maternity Leave Act. You may choose yourselves who is entitled to the extended leave.
  • If your child dies, you will receive full pay in the periods when you can get a refund of government benefits according to the Maternity Leave Act.
  • The father may also receive pay in the periods in which he is subrogated to the mother's right in the first 14 weeks, if the mother dies, or if she is unable to care for the child due to illness.

During the leave, you will receive fixed salary components and in addition "sick pay" that covers compensation for your loss of commission. "Sick pay" should be considered as an underwriting commission, and together with the monthly fixed salary components, this constitutes the "pay" during the leave.

All commission amounts that you have earned within the last 12 months (or four whole quarters) are added up, and the amount is then divided by a factor of 220. This amount constitutes "sick pay" or the commission compensation per working day. You will receive this daily "sick pay" from the first day of leave until your paid leave expires.

You can read more about the composition of your pay in the salary agreement of your insurance agent association, and the general rules appear from the Framework Agreement for insurance agents.