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Denmark
 


Source and scope of regulations - 2017    

References
NOTE: This information has changed since the previous period covered.
Remarks:
  • The data provided for Denmark in this database are reflecting only the content of specific laws protecting against unfair dismissals and do not reflect the content of collective agreements. Users of the database are therefore reminded that traditionally in Denmark the main source of labour law is collective agreement; the role of the State being one of facilitator as opposed to one of regulator. One can therefore not rule out that, on specific issues and/or in specific sectors, termination of employment is regulated quite differently from what is presented in the database. It is worthwhile highlighting that collective agreements are reported to cover 60 to 85% of employees and to serve as a baseline reference by the Courts when ruling on disputes involving workers not covered by a specific collective agreement.
  • Employers' and Salaried Employees' (Legal Relationship) (Consolidation) Act [ESEA], as amended by Act 285 of 2017
    Date: 29 Mar 2017; view website »
  • Act on notice [...] in connection with collective redundancies, referred to as Collective Dismissals Act [CDA], Act No. 414 of 1 June 1994, as amended by Act No. 385 of 2017.
    Date: 26 Apr 2017; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
Scope
Size of enterprises excluded (≤): 20
Remarks:
  • The rules on collective dismissals are only applicable to enterprises with more than 20 workers [see definition of collective dismissal: sec. 1 CDA].
    However, the rules on individual dismissal apply to all enterprises.

Workers' categories excluded: civil/public servants; domestic workers; seafarers; apprentices; clergy; teachers; blue-collar workers
Remarks:
  • - There is no general employment legislation covering individual contracts of employment for all categories of workers. There are, however, legislation for specific groups of employees, in particular the Employers' and Salaried Employees' Act (ESEA), which covers white-collar workers.

    - Art. 1 (3) ESEA: "The provisions of this Act shall not apply to civil servants or civil servants on probation in the state sector, the primary school system, the Danish National Church, or the local authorities, to salaried employees covered by the Seamen's Act of 7 June 1952, or to apprentices covered by the Apprenticeship Act".

    - In addition, the ESEA only applies to salaried employees and does not cover blue-collar workers.
    According to art. 1 (1) "salaried employees" shall mean:
    "(a) shop assistants and office workers employed in buying and selling activities, in office work or equivalent warehouse operations,
    (b) persons whose work takes the form of technical or clinical services (except handicraft work or factory work) and other assistants who carry out comparable work functions,
    (c) persons whose work is wholly or mainly to manage or supervise the work of other persons on behalf of the employer,
    (d) persons whose work is mainly of the type specified in (a) and (b)".


Collective agreements

Remarks:
  • Denmark has a system of decentralized but coordinated collective bargaining. Bargaining at the local level takes place within the parameters set by framework agreements signed by the top organization at industry or branch levels. Only those framework agreements have been referenced here.

General Agreement, 1973 concluded by the Danish Employers' Confederation and the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (amended in 1993 and 2007)
(Note: the 2007 amendments are not included in the English electronic version)


Types of employment contracts - 2017    

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Maximum probationary (trial) period: 3 month(s)

Remarks:
  • - There is no general legislation regarding probationary periods in Denmark. For salaried employees (white-collar employees) however, a probationary period of up to three months may be agreed. This period cannot be extended. During the probationary period both parties are entitled to terminate the employment contract by giving 14 days of notice.
    - Sec. 2 (5) ESEA provides that: "if the employer can substantiate that the engagement is on probation and that the employment relationship does not exceed a period of three months, termination on the part of the employment may take place given a period of notice of at least 14 days┐

Fixed term contract (FTC):
  • Valid reasons for FTC use: objective and material reasons
    Remarks:
    • Sec. 1 (4) ESEA, refers to "objective criteria such as reaching a specific date, completing a specific task or the occurrence of a specific event".
  • Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation
    Remarks:
    • No statutory limitation regarding the maximum number of successive FTC, but renewal of FTC must be based on objective grounds according to Section 5 of the Act (No. 907 of 2008) on fixed-term employment.
  • Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: no limitation
    Remarks:
    • No statutory limitation regarding the maximum number of successive FTC, but renewal of FTC must be based on objective grounds according to Section 5 of the Act (No. 907 of 2008) on fixed-term employment.
  • % of workforce under FTC: 13.5 %
    Remarks:
    • Source: Eurostat, annual average for 2016.
      The figure refers to the percentage of employee with a contract of limited duration (= temporary job) of total number of employee aged 15-74 years.
      Eurostat data are based on the following definition:
      "A job may be considered temporary if employer and employee agree that its end is determined by objective conditions such as a specific date, the completion of a task or the return of another employee who has been temporarily replaced (usually stated in a work contract of limited duration). Typical cases are: (a) persons with seasonal employment; (b) persons engaged by an agency or employment exchange and hired to a third party to perform a specific task (unless there is a written work contract of unlimited duration); (c) persons with specific training contracts."

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - 2017    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
Remarks:
  • - Sec. 2 (7) ESEA : At the employee's request, the employer must state the reason for dismissal. This provision only applies in respect of white-collar employees.

    - Sec. 4 of the General Agreement (1973) concluded by the Danish Employers' Confederation and the Danish Confederation of trade Unions states that "in the case of dismissal of an employee who has been employed in a company for at least nine continuous months, the employee concerned is entitled to request the reason for his dismissal in writing".


Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none
Remarks:
  • No ground for dismissals required in the laws reviewed.
    valid grounds may be established through collective agreements.
    This does not result in a total freedom to terminate the contract: it must be understood in light of the existence of prohibited grounds.
    In addition sec. 2b(1) ESEA provides for the employer's obligation to pay compensation if the dismissal of an employee with at least 12 months' service which is not considered to be reasonably justified by the conduct of the employee or the circumstances of the enterprise.
    (see also sec. 3 ESEA)


Prohibited grounds: marital status; pregnancy; maternity leave; filing a complaint against the employer; temporary work injury or illness; race; colour; sex; sexual orientation; religion; political opinion; social origin; nationality/national origin; age; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; parental leave; ethnic origin
Remarks:
  • See anti-discrimination regulation:

    - The Consolidation Act on Equal treatment of Men and Women as regards Access to Employment, 28 June 2006, prohibits discrimination due to sex. The Act also lays down special rules of the burden of proof in cases were an employee is dismissed during pregnancy, adoption or maternity.

    - The Act on Discrimination on the Labour Market, 16 December 2008 as amended in December 2014, prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination due to race, colour, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, disability or national, social or ethnic origin.

    - The Act on Protection against Dismissal due to Organisational Matters, 8 May 2006, protects employees against dismissal due to membership or non membership of a specific trade union and other organisation.

    On temporary illness: see sec. 5 (1) ESEA.

    Without good cause:
    Sec. 2b ESEA: dismissal not considered reasonably justified by the conduct of the employee or the circumstances of the enterprise entail compensation.
    Sec. 3 (1) ESEA: an employer who is terminating the employment relationship without a "good cause" shall pay compensation.


Workers enjoying special protection: pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave; workers with family responsibilities
Remarks:
  • - See art . 7 ESEA and the Consolidation Act on Equal treatment of Men and Women as regards Access to Employment, 28 June 2006 that lays down special rules of the burden of proof in cases were an employee is dismissed during pregnancy, adoption or maternity.



Procedural requirements for individual dismissals - 2017    

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Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks:
  • Sec. 2 (7) ESEA.

Notice period:
Remarks:
  • Sec. 2 (2) ESEA. The notice period shall be:
    * 1 month during the first 6 months' employment;
    * 3 months after 6 months' employment
    * increased by one month for every three years of service, subject to a maximum of 6 months.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months
      • white-collar workers - 3 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 9 months
      • white-collar workers - 3 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 2 years
      • white-collar workers - 3 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 4 years
      • white-collar workers - 3 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 5 years
      • white-collar workers - 4 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 10 years
      • white-collar workers - 6 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 20 years
      • white-collar workers - 6 month(s).

    Pay in lieu of notice: No

    Notification to the public administration: No

    Notification to workers' representatives: No

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Notes / Remarks
    With regards to blue-collar workers, the notice period is not provided in the law but in individual or collective agreements.

    Procedural requirements for collective dismissals for economic reasons (redundancy, retrenchment) - 2017    

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    Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned):
    Over a period of 30 days, at least:
    1) 10 employees in undertakings with 21 to 99 employees;
    2) 10% out of 100 to 299 employees;
    3) 30 employees in undertakings with at least 300 employees.

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 1 CDA

    Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 5 - 6 CDA

    Notification to the public administration: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 7 CDA

    Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 5 - 6 CDA

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

    Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 5 (2) CDA

    Priority rules for re-employment: No

    Severance pay and redundancy payment - 2017    

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    Severance pay:
    Remarks:
    • * White-Collar workers:
      Sec. 2a ESEA:
      In case of dismissal of a salaried employee having worked continuously in the same enterprise for 12 or 17 years, the employer shall pay a sum corresponding to, respectively, 1 or 3 months' salary.
      * Blue-collar workers: no statutory severance pay. Severance pay is regulated by collective agreements.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 10 years: 1 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 20 years: 3 month(s)
    Redundancy payment:
    Remarks:
    • * White-collar workers:
      Economic dismissals are covered by severance pay. There is no specific statutory redundancy payment for collective dismissal.
      Sec. 2a ESEA: In case of dismissal of a salaried employee having worked continuously in the same enterprise for 12 or 17 years, the employer shall pay a sum corresponding to, respectively, 1 or 3 months' salary.

      * Blue-collar workers: no statutory redundancy payment.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 10 years: 1 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 20 years: 3 month(s)

    Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - 2017    

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    Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 2b (1), (2) ESEA

    Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method):
    For employees having worked for at least 12 months, compensation shall not exceed the salary of the employee corresponding to half of the period of notice; it may amount up to 3 months' salary for employees over 30 years of age, 4 months' salary for employees with at least 10 years of service; 6 months' salary for employees with at least 15 years of service.

    Remarks:
    • Sec. 2b (1), (2) ESEA

    Reinstatement available: Yes

    Remarks:
    • No provision on reinstatement in the ESEA.
      However the General Agreement, 1973 concluded by the Danish Employers' Confederation and the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions provides for reinstatement.

      See also: OECD employment protection legislation database, 2013, Denmark: "reinstatement orders are possible but rare" (available at: www.oecd.org/els/emp/oecdindicatorsofemploymentprotection.htm).

    Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Case management in the Danish Labour Court
      by Managing Judge J°rn Andersen, Head of Secretariate, 19.9.04, available at:
      hwww.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_dialogue/---dialogue/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_160035.pdf

      Summary of the Danish Labour Court and Labour administration system, available at:
      http://www.arbejdsretten.dk/generelt/labour-court.aspx

    Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts; labour court

    Remarks:
    • The Labour Courts have jurisdiction over cases involving workers covered by a collective agreement whereas ordinary Courts have jurisdiction over dismissal disputes involving those not covered by a collective agreement.

      In addition, special dismissal bodies have been set up by social partners for unfair dismissal cases for parties to collective agreements. Their decision can be appealed to ordinary courts.
      See Danielle Venn (2009), "Legislation, collective bargaining and enforcement: Updating the OECD employment protection indicators", p. 30. Available at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/legislation-collective-bargaining-and-enforcement_223334316804

    Existing arbitration: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Regulated by Arbitration Act No. 553 of 24 June 2005 as last amended in 2008.

    Source of additional information - 2017    

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