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What employment matters are on the legislative agenda in Denmark in 2020/2021?

Written by
Norrbom Vinding, the largest labour and employment law practice in Scandinavia and the market leader in Denmark.
After a first half of the year dominated by COVID-19, the Danish government has published the legislative programme for the 2020/2021 parliamentary year. This article compiles a selection of the bills that are particularly relevant to employers.

Increased leave on the death of a child

As a follow-up to the political agreement on extended rights to bereavement leave, the government will present a bill aimed at improving the conditions for the right of absence for parents who lose their child. Under the bill, amending the Maternity Leave Act and the Sickness Benefits Act, bereavement leave is extended to include all parents who lose a child before the age of 18 and the period of absence is extended from 14 to 26 weeks after the child’s death.

New rules for reporting occupational accidents

The bill aims to ensure simpler rules in the area of occupational injuries. The bill will do away with the fact that today there are different sets of rules for reporting the same accidents.

Posted workers

The government will present a bill to implement the revised Posting of Workers Directive. The bill, which has been in consultation, aims to improve conditions for posted workers in Denmark, and it contains a number of amendments to the Posting of Workers Act, including a new provision on long-term posting. The provision implies that if the duration of a secondment exceeds 12 months, the employee must be covered by Danish employment law rules regardless of the contractual choice of law. However, there are certain exceptions to this, e.g. related to non-compete obligations and occupational supplementary pensions. The period can be extended to 18 months if the posting employer sends a notification to the Register of Foreign Service Providers.

The government proposes that the law enter into force on 1 January 2021. However, it is worth noting that the bill that was sent for consultation states that posting periods from 20 June 2020 will as a starting point be included in the calculation of the total period of secondment.

Increasing the state retirement age

Danes’ life expectancy is rising: to ensure more active years in the labour market, the government will present a bill to increase the state retirement age to 69 years with effect from 2035.

Right to early retirement for special groups

The purpose of this bill is to introduce a new right to early retirement / pension for certain individuals with long seniority in the labour market.

Full compensation in connection with violence in the workplace

The government will present a bill aimed at facilitating access to full compensation for employees who have been exposed to violence and threats at work.

Whistleblower protection act

In 2019, the EU Directive on Whistleblowers was finally adopted. The government will present a bill aimed at implementing the directive on the protection of individuals reporting violations of EU law.

Strengthened protection of LGBTI people against discrimination

The purpose of the bill is to strengthen the protection of LGBTI people against discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech. The bill entails, among other things, the introduction of an explicit ban on discrimination and harassment in the labour market on the basis of gender identity, gender expression and gender characteristics. It is proposed to establish access to bringing complaints to the Equal Treatment Board and to give the Institute for Human Rights authority to raise cases in this area.

Amendment of the Aliens Act

The government will present a bill which aims to ensure that all foreign nationals have the same right to perform unpaid voluntary work. This applies to foreign nationals who already have the right to stay in Denmark.

Protection for health and safety representatives

With this bill, the government wants to introduce rules to improve the protection of health and safety representatives against dismissal and downgrading of their status in the same manner as union representatives, even in situations where a collective agreement does not apply.

Ensuring the recovery of penalties abroad

The purpose of this bill is to increase the options for the Labour Market Fund for Posted Workers to collect penalties abroad. The bill implements joint recommendations from FH (the Danish Trade Union Confederation) and the Confederation of Danish Employers and follows up on the outcome of the so-called ‘OK20’ collective bargaining negotiations in the private labour market in April 2020.

Adjustment of the employee share tax scheme for new, small companies

The purpose of the bill is, inter alia, to adjust the employee share tax scheme for new, small companies.

The entire legislative programme can be read here.

Rikke Falk Dambo
Norrbom Vinding