Legal advice and security

Reduced hours and pay

Whether you wish to work part-time or your employer has asked you to, you need to look into how it affects your position, salary and pension. Before you agree to anything, you should always contact IDA and your unemployment insurance fund.

You may either decide to work part-time yourself because you want more free time, or you may be asked to do so by your employer - typically because your workplace has a downturn in business.

If you want to work part-time for a lower salary: Can you choose to work less and be paid less?

You are not entitled to work part-time. You must make an agreement with your employer if you wish to work fewer hours or days. If you wish to work part-time for a limited period, it is typically enough to make an amendment to your contract rather than drawing up a new one.

It is a good idea to be concrete about your wish to work part-time. Do you, for example, want a full day off every week? or do you need to leave earlier to pick up your children? If you want to get your manager on board, it is a good idea to show that you are flexible and able to work on your day off if extraordinary circumstances demand so. 

If your employer asks you to work less and take a salary cut: When should you be notified of a reduction of your hours and salary?

Changes to your salary and working hours, regardless of their scope, are always considered significant changes to your job description, and as such, you are entitled to fair warning in accordance with the conditions stated in your contract. However, your employer may want you to accept these changes immediately in order to protect their liquidity.

Before you accept any change to your salary or working hours, you should contact IDA's legal advisers, as such a change may have significant implications for your financial situation. 

In addition to the above, you should always contact your unemployment insurance fund (A-kassen) because an agreement to work fewer hours for less pay will often affect your entitlement to unemployment benefits and your entitlement to voluntary early retirement pay. In some cases, you can get supplemental unemployment benefits paid out when you have to work less. 

Read more at Akademikernes A-kasse

Can you be made redundant if you refuse?

If your employer terminates your employment because you have said no to working less for less pay, then this may be in conflict with the Part Time Act - unless your employer can prove that your termination is in no way related to your rejection of the agreement to work fewer hours for less pay. However, please note that if your employer is hemorrhaging financially, it will not be difficult for them to lift the burden of proof in this regard.

If your employer is struggling financially, this is rarely the time to negotiate the terms you are offered. Furthermore, you are not protected from termination in the period you work part-time. Therefore you should consider whether it might be a better idea to make a severance agreement and find a new job. 

Before you agree to an agreement about reduced hours, you should always contact IDA's legal advisers and your unemployment insurance fund to learn about the consequences if you accept.


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What you should be aware of before switching to part-time

How does it affect your position if you switch to part-time?

Regardless of whether it is you or your employer who proposes the cut in hours and pay, you should agree that you give up part of your tasks. If you have to solve the same number of tasks in less time, you stand a risk of being overloaded. 

For how long should you work part-time?

Any agreement to work fewer hours for less pay should always be temporary. Your agreement should state that should your employment be terminated during the agreement period, you will return to your standard terms and conditions.

It should also be stated in your contract that you may return to full-time work after a previously agreed period of time - for instance a year.

When this period of time has passed, you and your manager can evaluate and you can decide whether you wish to continue working part-time or to go back to working full-time. You should also agree that you have the right to increase time and salary during a notice period, so that you are guaranteed full salary during any period of layoff, and that any severance pay will be calculated on the basis of your full-time salary.

Keep an eye on the following terms in your new contract

How does working part-time affect your salary and pension?

Your new salary will often be reduced in accordance with your new working hours. If you make DKK 37,000 each month and start working 30 hours per week, your salary would be DKK 30,000. This should be stated in your agreement. 

When you make a new agreement, you can try to retain the level of your pension contribution even though your basic salary is reduced.

The consequences for your pension are less visible, but if you work part-time for a longer period of time, it may cost you a significant amount in pension savings. 

How does it affect your working hours?

The agreement should include provisions regarding your new working hours, including when and for how long you should work every day. This may be important if you become ill.

If you are on a fixed salary (jobløn), it will also be an advantage if you agree that overtime up to your normal working hours can either be taken off or paid as salary, so that you do not risk actually working a full-time position on a part-time salary.

In some situations, it can also be a good idea to include in your contract that you have the right to take on a side job during the hours when you have reduced time, so that you have the opportunity to earn money either in another part-time job or as an independent consultant. If necessary, it must also be agreed whether you may take up work within the industry in relation to your duty of loyalty.

How changes in your working hours affect your holidays

If you increase or reduce your working hours, it can affect the salary you subsequently receive when you take a holiday. You accrue holiday from 1 September to 31 August the following year, this period is called the holiday year and if your working hours change during this period, your employer must make a difference calculation. The holiday difference will appear on your pay slip. 


If you have a working time of 30 hours per week during the period you accrue holiday, but at the time you take your holiday, work 37 hours per week, then your salary payment during the holiday corresponds to 30 hours per week.  

The calculation: 30 hours a week corresponds to 6 hours a day, 37 hours corresponds to 7.4 hours a day. This will result in a holiday difference of minus 1.4 hours per holiday you are taking.

What does it mean for your bonus to decrease in time and salary?

If you have a bonus scheme, you must consider the consequences of reducing time and salary. If your bonus goal depends on your own performance, it should be adjusted as you go down in time so that you still have the opportunity to reach it.