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What happens if an employee in Denmark takes a holiday that defies official coronavirus recommendations?

Written by
Norrbom Vinding, the largest labour and employment law practice in Scandinavia and the market leader in Denmark.
How should employers in Denmark deal with an employee who wants to go on holiday to a region to which the authorities advise against travelling and what will happen on their return?  

We have been asked how employers should deal with a situation where an employee has planned but has not departed on holiday in an area where the authorities advise against unnecessary travel. The National Board of Health’s recommendations and list of risk areas can be found here.

In general, the recommendation is that employers, in writing (for example in a short email), encourage employees to refrain from travelling to the specific risk areas on holiday, while at the same time pointing out that an employee who chooses to do so may have to stay for a further 14 days at his or her own expense.

As a last resort, there may of course also be employment law consequences if an employee deliberately puts him or herself in a situation where he or she must subsequently be isolated at home for 14 days. This is also stated in the Danish Trade Union Confederation’s article on coronavirus, which can be read here.

There is, of course, the possibility (but no obligation) for employers to offer remote working arrangements to an employee who, despite the recommendations, chooses to embark on a journey to one of the risk areas. In this case, however, the employer should also consider in advance the risk of the employee being subject to quarantine in the country or region in question and therefore unable to return to Denmark as planned.

Essential travel

If, in exceptional cases, it is necessary for an employee to travel to risk areas, for example in connection with a serious illness in the immediate family, it will of course be sensible that the employer and the employee engage in dialogue about the journey and the how to manage the 14 days after the employee returns home.