When it comes to the amount of paid vacation time that workers are entitled to, Denmark is often ranked as one of the top nations in which to work. The Danish Holiday Act, which was enacted on the 13th of April in 1938 and outlines the laws that businesses are required to adhere to, protects the employee’s right to vacation and paid holidays.

Advantageous employee benefits, like paid holidays, are among the key benefits headhunters in Denmark can use to showcase the advantages of working in the country when trying to attract international candidates.

Every worker in Denmark is given the opportunity to take a total of 25 days off every year as holiday leave. When an employee takes vacation days, they are typically compensated at the same rate as their base wage, unless the individual has not accumulated enough vacation days throughout the preceding year.

How Many Vacation Days Are Granted to Danish Employees?

You must work in order to get paid for vacation time in Denmark. When you’ve been with a company for one month, you’re entitled to 2.08 days off as paid holiday. This equates to five weeks of paid holiday (25 days) that full-time employees are entitled to each and every year.

Even if you don’t put in a full month’s worth of work, your paid entitlement will be proportionally allotted to the number of days you put in. Therefore, if you worked for a total of two weeks, you would be eligible for slightly more than one day of paid vacation time.

No. Month’s WorkedNo. Days Holiday Pay Entitlement
One2.08
Two4.16
Three6.24
Four8.32
Five10.4
Six12.48
Seven14.56
Eight16.64
Nine18.72
Ten20.8
Eleven22.88
Twelve25

As of the year 2020, thanks to a revision to the Danish Holiday Act, workers are now allowed to take their paid vacation time as soon as they have earned it, whereas previously, they had to wait for their holiday allowance to accumulate for a full year before being able to take a paid vacation.

Holiday Supplement

You can expect to receive the same amount for your holiday pay as you do for the basic pay you receive. However, in addition to this, employees in Denmark are eligible for a holiday supplement which is an additional bonus that is awarded to workers and is calculated at 1% of their regular salary.

The employer is responsible for managing not just paid holidays but also any holiday supplements that will be issued.

The Danish Holiday Year

The months of September through August make up what is known as the Danish holiday year (or the time during which you accumulate vacation days). The vacation time that you have earned during this period must be used between the months of September and December of the following year. Therefore, employees have a total of 16 months from which to choose when taking time off for vacation.

Danish law stipulates that it is not possible to transfer over any of the first 20 days of holiday entitlement.  Any untaken holidays that surpass the initial 20 days can be carried to the following year if both the company and the employee agree, in which case a written agreement will then be signed by both parties. It is important to also note that any transferred holiday is always taken before any accrued holiday.

family on a skiing vacation
Family enjoying their vacation

Minimum Requirements

In Denmark, there is no legally mandated minimum work requirement in order to be eligible to receive holiday pay. Even if someone is only hired for a short amount of time, employees have the legal right to paid holiday leave as soon as they begin their employment in whatever capacity. Your holiday pay is determined by the number of days you have worked, with one day earning you 0.07 days of paid vacation.

Paid Holiday Entitlement for Part-time Workers

Part-time employees in Denmark are entitled to the same amount of paid vacation days as their full-time counterparts. The amount that you are paid is determined by your wage, and you will not be compensated for days or hours that do not fall within the scope of your typical working schedule.

For instance, if you are a part-time employee who works Mondays and Tuesdays and you take three weeks off for summer vacation, your holiday pay will reflect six days of work.

When Can Workers Use Their Paid Vacation Days

Employers are required to provide their workforce with at least three weeks of uninterrupted summer vacation time between the beginning of May and the end of September (the main holiday period), which is consistent with the policies of many other nations in Europe. This obligation is subject to the condition that workers submit their requests for their main holiday at least three months before the day on which it is scheduled to commence.

During the remaining months of the year, workers are permitted to take paid holiday anytime they like, provided that they give one-month advance notice.

Public Holidays in Denmark

In 2022, Denmark will have a total of ten paid public holidays. The Danish Labor Laws stipulate that all employees have the right to receive full pay for national holidays. However, if the holiday occurs on a date that is typically not a working day, then it is not considered a paid public holiday.

people eating and drinking at the aarhus canal in denmark
Danes enjoying a public holiday by the Aarhus canal

Danish national holidays for 2022 are:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • April 14 – Maundy Thursday
  • April 15 – Good Friday
  • April 18 – Easter Monday
  • May 13 – General Prayer Day
  • May 26 – Ascension Day
  • June 5 – Pentecost Day
  • June 6 – Whit Monday
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • December 26 – Boxing Day

How Denmark Compares to Other Countries

The European Union act under the Working Time Directive (1993) requires employees in all member states to receive a minimum of 20 days of paid holiday every year.

In Europe, France has the highest minimum holiday entitlement with 30 days. Most nordic countries, like Sweden and Finland, have the same minimum as Denmark with 25 days.

The Netherlands, Greece, Germany, and Italy are among the European countries that only offer the minimum requirement of 20 days of holiday leave.

Let’s see how Denmark compares with other countries around the world:

CountryMinimum No. Days Holiday
USA0
China5
Mexico6
Japan10
India12
South Korea15
Argentina20
Denmark25
Panama30
Brazil30
Note: This excludes any paid public holidays

Summary

With a minimum of 25 days of paid holiday per year, Denmark is among the top countries in Europe when it comes to the paid holiday that workers are entitled to receive. Additionally, with the recent amendment to the Danish Holiday Act, workers’ rights and flexibility when it comes to taking paid vacations have never been better.

It is also important to keep in mind that this is the bare minimum requirement that is placed upon employers and that the vast majority of workers will actually receive more than the minimal level.

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Michael Thorp has over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry. Throughout his career, he has held various roles and gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field. He has a strong track record of success in helping businesses and start-ups find the right talent to support their growth and success.