Maternity/paternity leave

Before, during and after maternity and paternity leave: what to remember

Going on maternity or paternity leave and coming back to work afterwards requires that you know the rules, deadlines and that you are well prepared. Get help with IDA's checklist.


Tell your employer you are pregnant in due time

As a woman, you are only obliged to inform your employer of your upcoming maternity leave 3 months before the birth. However, once you have told your employer that you are expecting a child and therefore need to take leave, the Equal Treatment Act protects you from being dismissed.

Many people only tell about the future child when they are past the neonatal scan and the first 12 weeks. But consider telling your employer that you are pregnant and expecting as soon as you are ready to tell them, so that you are as protected as possible.

Find out when you can go on leave

As a pregnant woman, you have the right to go on maternity leave 4 weeks before the birth, but if you are employed on IDA's collective agreements in the public sector, you can go on maternity leave 6 or 8 weeks earlier, depending on whether you are employed in the state or in the municipality/region.

As a father or co-mother, you can go on leave once the child is born.

Read about maternity/paternity leave after 2 August 2022

Read about leave for childbirth before 2 August 2022

Make a plan for sharing leave between mother and father

You have many options for flexible leave and dividing your leave between the mother and father according to your employment situation, work situation and finances.

The rules are complex, so get to know the options well in advance. Also remember to notify your employer according to the rules.

Get an overview of the rules for maternity leave if your child is born on or after 2 August 2022

Get an overview of the rules for maternity leave if your child is born before 2 August 2022

Keeping track of your salary and benefits during parental leave

What does it cost when a mother or father is on leave for pregnancy and childbirth? Will you have to cut your income - and by how much? Thoughts like these can be a big cause for worry as you await a new baby.

There are big differences in how much you get paid during maternity leave, depending on whether you get full pay or maternity/paternity pay (barselsdagpenge) during the leave.

Visit to learn more about applying for maternity/paternity pay

What about your free phone calls, company car and other employee benefits during maternity/paternity leave?

Do you have employer-paid phone subscription, paid internet at home, company phone and company car? Then check with your employer whether you can keep the employee benefits during your leave.

Read about maternity/paternity leave and employee benefits (In Danish)

Think about salary negotiations during  leave before you go on leave

Even if you are on leave, you still have the right to negotiate pay during your leave.

Find out how you stand in terms of salary negotiations before you go on leave. You may have to ask for a negotiation yourself when it's time for the annual salary negotiations - or maybe your manager will reach out when the time comes.

You can find out when there are salary negotiations in your contract, your collective agreement or your company's staff handbook.

Prepare for the salary negotiation before you go on maternity/paternity leave, so you have an overview of your achievements while they are still fresh in your mind.

Get more tips for salary negotiations

Clarify whether you need to see or hear from your workplace during your leave

You are not obliged to be in contact with your workplace during your maternity/paternity leave, but it may be a good idea to have some idea of what is happening while you are away.

Check with your manager whether you need to be in contact with your workplace during your leave.

Also think about how you will be informed if there are major organisational changes or other important changes during your leave. Do you want to hear it from your manager - and should they write to your private email so you don't have to check your work email?

Remember your holidays

Maternity/paternity leave is regarded as a holiday obstacle (feriehindring). This means that, as a rule, you cannot take holiday during your leave.

But if you can agree with your employer that you will interrupt your leave to take the holiday and then resume your leave, there is nothing to stop you taking holiday during your leave.

Read more about rules concerning holidays and maternity/paternity leave

Can I do anything to ensure that I return to the same job after my leave?

When you go on maternity/paternity leave, the Equal Treatment Act gives you the right to return to a similar job to the one you left. Your employment conditions must not be reduced in any new position.

That being said, your employer can make changes and restructurings while you're away - as long as you end up in a corresponding position.

To have some sense of what is happening at work during your absence, you can have an ongoing dialogue with your employer while you are away.

Read more about maternity/paternity leave and your rights as an employee

What to remember - before maternity/paternity leave:

At least 3 months before birth: As a mother, this is the deadline for telling your employer that you are pregnant and that you want to take leave after the birth.

At least 4 weeks before birth:

  • As a mother, inform your employer if you want to carry over up to 8 of the weeks in the first 10 weeks after giving birth and if you are continuing directly on leave.
  • As the father, co-mother or social parent of a child, inform your employer if you want to take leave for the first 10 weeks after the birth of the child, and if so, when and for how long.

Check with your manager:

  • What is the process for negotiating pay during maternity/paternity leave?
  • What happens to your employee benefits like free phone, free internet, company car etc during maternity/paternity leave?
  • Can your manager contact you during the leave - and if so, how?

4-8 weeks before birth: Pregnancy leave for the mother starts.


Report leave to your employer

After the birth of your child, you must tell your employer how you want to take your leave.

Think now about how you would like to return to work after maternity/paternity leave. If you want a soft start, you can use the flexible options available. For example, you can save leave and use it to start up a partial return to work, so you either have a weekly day off or the option to leave early for a period.

There are different deadlines for reporting leave to your employer, depending on whether your child was born before or after 2 August 2022.

See the rules for leave if the child is born after 2 August 2022

See the rules for leave if the child is born before 2 August 2022

Apply for maternity/paternity benefits (barselsdagpenge) if you are not paid during the leave

If you are not paid during all or part of your leave, your employer must report your leave to Udbetaling Danmark. You will receive a notification letter from Udbetaling Danmark, which you must fill in and return before the application deadline.

The deadline for applications is:

  • 8 weeks after the birth if you are not paid during leave
  • 8 weeks after the last salary payment from your employer
  • 8 weeks after the first day of absence if you take leave at a later date, e.g. when taking unpaid paternity leave.

If you are unemployed, you must inform your unemployment insurance fund of your maternity/paternity leave within 8 weeks after the date of birth.

Read more about maternity/paternity benefits during maternity/paternity leave on

Remember to get a reduction of your IDA fees when you are on maternity pay

As a member of IDA, you can get a reduced membership fee when you are on maternity leave during the period you are receiving maternity benefits.

You can get a reduction by updating your profile on Mit IDA - use the "My situation has changed" box.

Changes to the membership fee will apply from the next quarter of the year after you have updated your profile.

Update your profile on Mit IDA

Do I need to keep in touch with my work during my leave?

You are not obliged to keep in touch with your work or read your work email while you are on maternity/paternity leave.

You may choose to keep some contact with your workplace to keep in touch with what is happening while you are away. For example, you could drop by and show off your baby a few times, or attend a summer party, Christmas party or other social event if you can and have the time.

You can also agree with your manager that he or she may contact you, for example by private email or telephone, if there are major organisational changes or other important matters while you are away.

Remember the salary negotiations

Remember your annual salary negotiation even if you are on maternity/paternity leave.

If you agreed with your employer how to negotiate your salary during maternity/paternity leave before you went on leave, remember to reach out at the right time or expect that your manager contacts you. Otherwise, you will have to contact your employer yourself when it is time for the annual salary negotiations.

When negotiating salary, in addition to last year's performance, you can focus on what the company has lacked during your absence and what skills you will bring back.

If you can't get a higher salary, remember that you can negotiate other things, like more holidays or the option to work from home, to make life as a parent of young children easier when you return to work.

If you receive a bonus, remember that you also earn a half bonus during the period where you as the mother are entitled to 50% of your salary during 4 weeks before and 14 weeks after the birth, as specified in the Salaried Employees' Act.

If you are entitled to full pay during your parental leave, you will also receive a full bonus, unless it is specified in your staff handbook, collective agreement or similar that pay during parental leave excludes bonus. If that is the case, you can contact IDA for advice. 

Get more tips for salary negotiations

Draw a line in the sand and take stock

Time away from work provides a unique opportunity to reflect on your working life. Ask yourself what is good about your working life? What is bad? Is it perhaps time to look for a new job?

You can book a consultation with IDA's career counsellors to get a sense of your aspirations and future goals.

Book a career counselling session

Talk to your manager about your return to work

A lot can change during your leave - the company may have evolved or been restructured while you were away or you may have had new colleagues and superiors etc.

You are not entitled to return to the same job you left before maternity/paternity leave, but you are entitled to an equivalent job after your leave.

Therefore, talk to your manager about your future tasks before you return to your job. You can invite yourself to a meeting with your manager a few months before you go back to work, where you will draw up a joint plan for your start.

Things to remember - during maternity/paternity leave:

No later than 6 weeks after birth: If you are a salaried employee, as a mother, father, co-mother, social parent or family member taking transferred leave on behalf of a solo parent, you must now tell your employer when your leave starts and ends if you take leave after the first 10 weeks after birth. If, as an employee, you want to postpone your leave, you must also give notification now.

No later than 8 weeks after birth / pay during maternity/paternity leave has ceased: Remember to apply for maternity/paternity benefits

Remember the salary negotiations - if you have to contact the job yourself

Consider: Should you ask for a meeting with your manager to plan your return to work?



Create a good framework for your new life

For many, being a parent and an employee at the same time is a big change. For example, you may no longer have to stay late at work to finish a task because you have to rush home to pick up your child.

You'll get a better return to work if things are calm on the home front.

Think about and talk to a potential partner about your priorities and how to make everyday life work with a young child. You may need to make some adjustments in your life or work to make ends meet.

How do you divide the duties between you in a desirable way? Do you need extra flexibility from your employer, for example in the form of working from home or reduced hours? Or do you need help from family members or others to make everyday life work?

Get a good onboarding at work

Even if you've had your job for a long time, going back after maternity or paternity leave can be overwhelming. Maybe you've had new tasks, new colleagues or new managers during your leave - maybe new workflows or structures have emerged while you were away? And maybe you just forgot your passwords and routines while you were away from work.

Make sure you have a good onboarding, where you, your manager and your colleagues take into account that you have been away from the workplace for a long time. Make proper introductions to new colleagues and working practices, and arrange a few meetings with your manager during the first few months back from leave. Here you can talk about how you've settled back into work: Are the tasks you're given relevant? Are you being challenged enough? Too much? And can you balance your working life with your private life as a parent?

The more openly you can talk about this, the more likely it is that together you can find solutions to any challenges and make the right adjustments.

Cultivate and strengthen your relationships

It's not enough to perform well when you return to work. It's also important to nurture your relationships with colleagues.

It may take a bit of effort to get back into the lingo at work - what's happened since you went on leave? Who's got what tasks now? And what's been happening in your colleagues' lives while you've been looking after the baby at home?

Studies show that content-rich tasks combined with familiarity with one or more colleagues lead to high job satisfaction. That's why it's also important to focus on rebuilding relationships with your colleagues.

Prepare for your child's illness

All children get sick - especially in the early days of nursery or day care. You can easily feel more absent than present at work, and this can make you feel guilty towards colleagues and the workplace.

Prepare well in advance how you will deal with the child's illness in your family:

  • Talk to your partner about how you will handle this between you and make a plan for how you will share the child's sick days between you. Avoid a situation where you have a sick child and need to discuss between you and your partner whose meeting is most important that day.
  • Talk to your manager. Make an agreement on how best to manage your work during the periods when you are affected by your child's illness.
  • Ask your colleagues how they deal with sick children. There is always someone who has been there before. Ask your colleagues for advice on how to get through the first few years of returning flus from the nursery.

Check the rules for children's sick days (In Danish)