Denmark Leave Laws

In this page, we’ll break down all you need to know about leave laws in Denmark.

Read on to learn about employees’ rights in regards to paid time off/annual leave, sick leave, parental leave, national/public holidays, and more.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.


Employees in Denmark are entitled to at least five weeks of paid holiday (aka vacation/annual leave) per year, or 2.08 days per month.

Employees accrue annual leave over the Danish leave year, which runs from September to August. According to the Danish Holiday Act, employees are able to use their leave as soon as it’s accrued.

PTO Payout & Use It or Lose It

Employees are entitled to use their accrued leave within the leave year it’s accrued, or until the end of December following that leave year.

So, for example, any leave accrued during the period of September 2023 to August 2024 can be used up until December of 2024.

Generally speaking, leave not used during this redemption period does not carry over. Employees may carry over a maximum of four weeks to the next year if they are prevented from taking their holiday before December 31st, by reasons such as sick leave, maternity/paternity leave or other extenuating circumstances.

If unused leave does not carry over, the employee’s outstanding holiday allowance will be paid out to them after December 31st.

Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.

Sick Leave in Denmark

Employees in Denmark are entitled to their full pay during sick leave, for as long as they are off work.

The first 30 days are paid by their employer, and after this time, the cost of sick leave to the employer can be covered by the state.

Denmark Public Holidays

Denmark has the following public holidays:

January 1New Year’s Day
Thursday before Easter SundayMaundy Thursday
Friday before Easter SundayGood Friday
March/AprilEaster Sunday
Day after Easter SundayEaster Monday
4th Friday after EasterGeneral Prayer Day
40 days after EasterAscension Day
7th Sunday after EasterWhit Sunday
Day after PentecostWhit Monday
December 25Christmas Day
December 26Boxing Day

If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it typically does not transfer to another day.

Several other days, such as May 1st (International Worker’s Day), June 5th (Constitution Day), Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not public holidays, but often given as a day off in collective working agreements.

Holiday Pay

Employees in Denmark are entitled to a paid day off for public holidays.

Parental Leave in Denmark (Maternity Leave & Paternity Leave)

Mothers are entitled to four weeks’ maternity leave prior to birth, and 10 weeks of maternity leave after birth.

Fathers and co-mothers are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave around the time of the birth.

Employees who meet certain thresholds for time employed and time worked prior to maternity/paternity leave are entitled to your regular pay, up to a maximum of DKK 4,550 per week or DKK 122.97 per hour, paid by the government.

Parental Leave

Each parent has a right to take 32 weeks of parental leave, starting after the 10 weeks of maternity leave, and within 14 weeks of the child’s birth. After the first 32 weeks, this time can be extended up to a maximum of 46 weeks (total).

Bereavement Leave in Denmark

Employees in Denmark are entitled to bereavement leave (with unemployment benefit paid by the government) if their child is stillborn or dies before the age of 18. This can last a maximum of 26 weeks.

All other cases of bereavement leave are up to the discretion of the employer, including when to grant bereavement leave, how long, and whether or not it is paid.

What is Bereavement Leave? Click here to learn more.

Other Leave Types

Official Resources

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