Sick leave and sickness benefits in Denmark
Sick leave in Denmark – read your employment contract
In Denmark, the terms that apply to your sick leave depend on your employment contract. Your employment contract determines whether and to what extent you are entitled to your full salary during sick leave. It is therefore a good idea to review your employment contract, so that you know what applies if you get sick.
As in Sweden, it is important you notify your employer immediately if you get sick. Sometimes the employer will request a medical certificate.
Sick pay from the employer for 30 days
It is quite common for employees in Denmark to be entitled to full pay during illness, at least for a certain period of time. If you are not entitled to full pay during illness according to your contract, your employer will pay you so-called sick pay for 30 days with effect from the first day. This applies provided you have worked for at least 74 hours during the eight weeks preceding your illness.
Sickness benefits from the municipality after 30 days
If you are sick for longer, sickness benefits will be paid by the municipality in which you are working, provided that you meet one of the following requirements:
- You have worked for at least 240 hours in the past full six calendar months before your first day of illness. During at least five of these months you worked for a minimum of 40 hours per month.
- You would have been entitled to unemployment benefits or similar if you had not fallen ill.
- During the past month you completed vocational training of at least 18 months’ duration.
- You are employed as an apprentice as part of a Danish vocational training programme.
- You have a ‘flexijob’.
Maximum weekly sickness benefits currently amount to a maximum of DKK 4,405 (2020) per week and a maximum of DKK 119,05 (2020) per hour. The sickness benefits are taxable just like your normal salary.
If you are sick for a long time
There is no law in Denmark that corresponds to the Swedish Employment Protection Act, and there is no guarantee that you can keep your job if you are off sick for an extended period of time. Check your employment contract. The employer is normally entitled to terminate an employee if he or she is off sick for more than 120 days in one year, but it depends entirely on the individual employment contract.
At the latest four weeks from the first day you were off sick, your employer must call you in for a meeting to discuss how you can return to work either full-time or part-time. Please note, however, that the employer may request a medical certificate or arrange a meeting earlier.
As a general rule, you can get sickness benefits for a maximum of 22 weeks in a nine-month period. Before the expiry of the 22 weeks, the municipality must decide whether you comply with the conditions for an extension to your sickness benefits. To qualify you must meet one of the following requirements:
- You are deemed to be able to return to work after rehabilitation.
- A health assessment is deemed necessary to determine your work capacity. Such assessment must take place within 69 weeks.
- You are waiting for or currently undergoing medical treatment, and the doctor is of the view that you will be able to return to work within 134 weeks.
- The municipality is of the view that the case should be dealt with by the rehabilitation team to enable the municipality to decide as soon as possible about a so-called “resource programme”, “flexijob” or early retirement.
- You suffer from a life-threatening illness.
- A workmen’s compensation claim is pending.
- An application for early retirement has been submitted. The sickness benefits can be extended until a decision has been made about early retirement.
If none of the above-mentioned seven conditions have been met, you are not entitled to an extension of the sickness benefits. If you are still employed in Denmark, you are entitled to a so-called resource programme benefit (“resourceforløbsydelse”) during a job clarification process (“jobafklaringsforløb”).
Right to rehabilitation in Sweden
You should know, that as a resident in Sweden you are also entitled to rehabilitation in Sweden. It is a good idea to talk to your Swedish doctor about this.
What you need to know
- Before the municipality discontinues your sickness benefits, they must communicate with you about the decision they intend to make. You will have an opportunity to express your points of view. You can also contact Försäkringskassan at Øresunddirekt’s information centre in Malmoe if you have any questions.
- If you have lost your right to sickness benefits in Denmark but remain sick, you must report sick to Försäkringskassan the day after your Danish sickness benefits were discontinued.
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Social security if you work in Denmark
Being affiliated with the social security system of a country means that you are eligible for benefits such as parental allowance, sickness benefit and other benefits in that country. If you work full-time in Denmark and live in Sweden, you follow the general rule that you are affiliated with the system in Denmark, the country in which you work.
Social security when working in both Denmark and Sweden
A person is only entitled to social security in one country. According to the general rule, this is in the country where you physically perform your work. If you have a job in both Denmark and Sweden at the same time, your social security affiliation depends on how much you work in each respective country.