Career & Legal Advice

Maternity/paternity leave as a self-employed person

As a self-employed person, you are entitled to maternity/paternity leave and parental leave. In this connection, you will receive maternity/paternity benefits. Read more here about maternity/paternity benefits, when you are self-employed and pregnant or adopting and about to be a parent.

You’re having a baby! You’re so happy, but you have a niggling concern. What do you do when you’re self-employed and you’re on maternity/paternity leave? Can you get any benefits? And what about your business while you’re away?

Benefits for the self-employed

If you comply with the regulations for how much you have been working before your maternity/paternity leave, you can receive benefits as a self-employed person. The rules are that you are entitled to maternity/paternity benefits if:

  • You have worked for at least six months within the last 12 months before you go on maternity/paternity leave, and
  • You have worked in the past month before your maternity/paternity leave, and
  • You have worked at least half time (18½ hours per week) in your business, and
  • Your business shows a profit, and
  • You are in daily physical contact with your child under your leave.

If you meet all these conditions, you can receive benefits as a self-employed person. However, if you have been self-employed for less than six months before you go on maternity/paternity leave, you can include the periods when you have worked as an employee.

How much in benefits are you entitled to?

How much you can get in the benefits depends on how much you have earned in your business. Maternity/paternity benefits for the self-employed are calculated on the basis of:

  • The profit of your business
  • Any revenues transferred to an employed spouse 
  • Own sickness and maternity/paternity benefits

In order to obtain full maternity/paternity benefits, you must earn at least DKK 223,600 in revenues (2018) a year.

Legal counselling at IDA

IDA provides legal advice for the self-employed and freelancers, and for those who are employees and self-employed at the same time.

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Private sickness insurance can be used by the self-employed on maternity/paternity leave

If you have taken out sickness insurance with Udbetaling Danmark by no later than six months before you apply for benefits, you are entitled to at least two-thirds of the maximum maternity/paternity benefits rate, irrespective of how much you have earned. If you are subject to a qualifying period which expires during your leave, and provided you are insured, you will also receive at least two-thirds of the maximum maternity/paternity rate from the date on which the qualifying period expires.
You take out the insurance through Udbetaling Danmark.

Self-employed and on maternity/paternity leave

The maternity/paternity period for the self-employed is divided into four phases:

  • Pregnancy leave for the mother of four weeks before the expected date of birth.
  • Maternity leave for the mother of 14 weeks after the birth.
  • Paternity leave of two weeks within 14 days after the date of birth.
  •  Parental leave of 32 weeks which can be split between the parents.

Read more about maternity/paternity/parental benefits for the self-employed on

What should I do with my business while I’m on maternity/paternity leave?

Many self-employed people worry about what will happen with their business and clients while they are away on leave. Perhaps you’re one of them? Here are three tips:

  • Make sure to tell your clients as soon as possible about when you are going on maternity/paternity leave and how long you expect to be away.
  • Find a temp to take over your clients instead of letting your clients find one themselves. This means you stay in control and can make sure that you get the job back again when you return to work after your leave.
  • While you’re on leave, it is a good idea to contact your customers and ask how things are going. Perhaps send a picture of your baby or drop by for a coffee. Then they won’t forget you.