If you are a salaried employee in Denmark, have the right to take leave when you have a child. For part of your maternity or paternity leave you will receive full or partial salary payments from your employer. How much you receive and how long you are entitled to receive salary payments depends on your employment contract or the collective agreement under which you are covered.
Parents who are not entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave from their workplace can receive maternity/paternity benefits from their municipal office in their place of residence. In order to claim this payment, contact the local municipality no later than eight weeks after the birth.
On 2 August 2022, a new Act on maternity/paternity leave comes into force.
If you receive the child after 2 August 2022, the new maternity rules will apply. These rules also apply even if the due date is before 2 August 2022, as long as the child is born after 2 August 2022.
The new leave rules mean that as parents, you are each entitled to 24 weeks' leave with maternity/paternity benefits after the birth.
You can take leave consecutively, alternately or simultaneously, and you can assign your leave to each other so you can plan your family life, your work life and your finances to suit you. However, not all weeks can be transferred.
How much maternity/paternity leave you are entitled to and who can transfer leave to whom depends on:
If you are under employment at the time you transfer leave and cohabiting at the time of birth, you can transfer up to 13 weeks of leave to the other parent.
Are you self-employed and concerned about your maternity/paternity leave? As a self-employed person, you are entitled to maternity/paternity leave.
As a mother, you are entitled to 4 weeks' maternity leave before the expected date of birth – however, you may be entitled to longer maternity leave if this is stated in your terms of employment.
After giving birth, you are entitled to 24 weeks' maternity leave, divided as follows:
As a mother, you are entitled to pregnancy leave leading up to the birth.
You are entitled to 4 weeks' leave before giving birth, but the length of pregnancy leave depends on your employment situation:
Private sector employee: As a mother, you are entitled to 4 weeks' absence before the expected date of birth.
Employed in municipality/region: As a mother, you are entitled to leave from 8 weeks before the expected date of birth
Government employee: As a mother, you are entitled to leave from 6 weeks before the expected date of birth.
The expected date of birth (due date) is included in the weeks of absence.
If you give birth before your due date, you lose the part of your pregnancy leave you did not take before the birth.
However, if you give birth after your due date, your leave will be extended by the number of days you miss.
As a mother, you have 2 weeks of compulsory, earmarked maternity leave after giving birth. The leave starts the day after the birth and you cannot postpone the leave and take it later. Nor can you transfer the leave.
When the earmarked leave ends, you (the mother) continue on 8 weeks' leave with entitlement to maternity benefits.
The leave must be taken within the first 10 weeks after the birth of the child.
If you are working, you can either extend the 8 weeks of leave or you can transfer all or part of the 8 weeks of leave to the father or co-mother.
Extension of the 8 weeks’ leave: By agreement with your employer, you can extend your 8 weeks' leave by working reduced hours, for example by taking a few days off each week.
As a rule, you are entitled to maternity benefits for the number of hours you are on leave.
Transfer of the 8 weeks of leave: You can transfer the 8 weeks of leave in 2 ways.
If you choose to transfer all or part of the 8 weeks to your father or mother, you must both notify your employer 4 weeks before the due date.
If you are working or become an employee within the first year of having the child, 9 of the 14 weeks of leave are earmarked for you. You must take the 9 weeks of earmarked leave before the child turns one. If you are prevented from taking the leave before the child turns one because of special circumstances, you may be allowed to postpone the leave and take it before the child turns three. The special circumstances may include temporary serious illness or situations where you have not been granted sufficient access to your child.
The remaining 5 weeks you can either keep yourself, you can postpone them and keep them before the child turns 9 or you can either hand them over to the father or co-mother.
If you take the leave yourself, you must give your employer at least 8 weeks' notice.
If you are unemployed, you can transfer all 14 weeks to the father or mother.
As a father or co-mother living with the mother of the child, you are entitled to 24 weeks' leave after the birth of the child. The leave is divided into 2 weeks of compulsory, earmarked leave and 22 weeks of leave, of which you can transfer 13 weeks.
As a father or co-mother, you are entitled to 2 weeks' leave after the birth of your child.
You can wait to start your leave until your child has come home from hospital.
You can take the leave in one period, but you can also agree with your employer to take the leave flexibly, for example by taking it as single days or by taking one week immediately after the birth and another week later. As a rule, you must have taken your 2 weeks of leave before the child is 10 weeks old.
Your 2 weeks' leave at birth is equivalent to the number of hours you are employed. When you work full-time Monday to Friday, you have 74 hours of leave (2 x 37) to divide within the 10 weeks. If you take the leave in one period, the leave is not extended even if there are public holidays during the period.
After the 2 weeks of compulsory leave, there are 22 weeks of leave, of which 9 weeks are earmarked for you as a father or co-mother if you are in work.
This means that if you are working, leave cannot be transferred to the mother unless you are prevented from taking leave by special circumstances, such as serious illness or situations where you are not granted access to or have established paternity of your child.
The 9 weeks of earmarked leave must be taken within 1 year of the birth of the child.
The remaining 13 weeks of leave can be transferred to the child's mother. She must then take the leave before the child turns 9.
You can assign whole weeks or days.
You can also postpone 5 weeks for yourself and take them before the child turns 9.
As a mother and father/co-mother, you have the right to postpone 5 weeks of leave and take leave after the child has reached the age of 1 and before the child reaches the age of 9.
The leave must be taken consecutively and, as an employed person, you have the right to take leave later, even if your employment changes. You simply need to notify your employer of the leave and its length at least 8 weeks before it starts.
You cannot postpone more than 5 weeks of leave, even if you are entitled to more leave or have leave transferred from the other parent, without the agreement of your employer.
As a father/co-mother, you can postpone an additional 8 weeks of leave (or more if you have been assigned leave by the mother) by agreement with your employer. You must have resumed full-time work during a period when you would otherwise be entitled to maternity pay – that is, between the 3rd week and 1 year after the birth of the child in the case of the mother, and during the first year after the arrival of the child in the case of the father or co-mother.
Leave that you have postponed by agreement with your employer must be taken after the child turns 1 and before the child turns 9, and you do not have to take it consecutively. However, you have no guarantee that you will be able to take the leave you have agreed with your employer at a later point or if you change jobs, for example. That depends on the agreement between you and your employer.
If the mother and father/co-mother do not live together at the time of birth, if you do not have joint custody, or if a child has only one parent at the time of birth, for example because you have had a child by donor or the other parent has passed away, leave is allocated differently.
As a single mother, you are entitled to 46 weeks' leave with maternity benefits after the birth of the child, which must be taken before the child reaches the age of 1.
The leave is divided into:
As a single father, you are entitled to 46 weeks of leave with paternity benefits after the birth of your child. As a rule, the leave must be taken before the child reaches the age of 1.
The leave is divided into
The parent with whom the child lives will get an extra 13 weeks of leave on top of the 24 weeks of leave after the birth. The 13 weeks of leave must normally be taken before the child reaches the age of 1. The parent can choose to transfer the 13 weeks of leave to the other parent, or to postpone or extend the weeks until the child is 9 years old.
If the parent acquires sole parental authority before the child turns 1, the parent can apply to Udbetaling Danmark for an additional 9 weeks of leave with maternity benefits. It is a prerequisite that:
The 9 weeks of additional leave must, as a rule, be taken before the child reaches the age of 1. The parent can choose to transfer the 9 weeks of leave to the other parent, or to postpone or extend the weeks until the child turns 9, if the conditions are met.
If the child does not live with the father or co-mother, the father or co-mother is entitled to 9 weeks' leave in addition to the 2 weeks' leave at birth, which must normally be taken before the child reaches the age of 1. If the father or mother is a salaried employee, the 9 weeks of leave cannot be transferred to the other parent.
If the child does not live with the mother, the mother is entitled to 2 weeks' leave at birth and 8 weeks' leave. In addition, the mother is entitled to 9 weeks' leave, which must normally be taken before the child reaches the age of 1. If the mother is a salaried employee, the 9 weeks of leave cannot be transferred to the other parent.
If you move apart after the birth, the rules apply as if you were cohabiting, i.e. each parent is entitled to 24 weeks' leave with maternity pay after the birth. This applies even if you move apart shortly after the birth.
As a mother, you must give notice of maternity leave as follows:
As a father/co-mother, you must give notice of maternity/paternity leave as follows:
You should then notify your employer as soon as possible of the change to your leave arrangements.
When you want to take up to 5 weeks of postponed leave, you must inform your employer at least 8 weeks before the start of the leave when and for how long you want to take the leave. You must take the leave before the child reaches the age of 9.
If you have any questions concerning your terms of employment when you are or are going to become a parent, IDA can help you to get an overview of your maternity/paternity leave entitlements.
You can also get advice about your additional rights - for example, the possibilities of postponing periods of leave or extension of leave periods, opportunities for partial resumption of work, the allocation of leave between parents and caring for sick children.