Here are the rules for how to earn and use holidays in Denmark

How do you accrue holidays? When can you use your time off? and what are your rights if you are prevented from taking your holiday or your place of work is closed during the summer?

Disclaimer: This page has been automatically translated. It may contain grammatical inaccuracies, but the content is guaranteed to be correct.

When do you earn holidays when working in Denmark?

According to the Danish Holiday Act, all employees are entitled to 5 weeks' holiday per year. You accrue 2.08 days of holiday per month, which can be taken as early as the following month. That way you accrue 25 days or 5 weeks of holiday in a year.

You accrue holidays between 1 September until 31 August in the following year, but you can use your holidays in the holiday year from 1 September to 31. December in the following year. This gives you a greater flexibility when planning your days off.

The holiday is taken as whole days, but you can agree with your employer that you can also take a half holiday.

Are you a public sector employee? If you work in a region or municipality, your holidays are calculated in hours instead of full days. If you are a full-time employee, one holiday year is 185 hours (not including any extra holidays you may have agreed on). 

That way, as a full-time employee in the public sector, you earn 15,42 hours of holiday each month.

Can you be obliged to use your holiday?

You are not obliged to take a holiday if you have not earned a salary or holiday allowance to finance the holiday with. Your employer can only order you to take a holiday for which you have earned salary or holiday allowance. An exception to this, however, is if your employer is closed during the holidays. Read more about holiday closure further down on this page. 

The Holiday Act

All employees in Denmark are covered by the Holiday Act, except managers with authority to influence the daily operations of the company. The Holiday Act determines that you are entitled to five weeks of paid holiday each holiday year.

What are the rules for main holiday and remaining holiday?

You are entitled to 3 weeks of consecutive holiday in the main holiday period 1 May to 30 September. This may only be divided into shorter periods if you wish so yourself.

Your remaining holidays can be spent at any time during the year, and you are entitled to at least 5 consecutive days of holiday. If you have fewer than 5 days of holiday left, you are still entitled to take these consecutively.


When can I use my holidays?

You must agree with your employer about when you take your holiday. Should you disagree, it is the employer who decides the time. If your employer determines the time, you must be given the following notice:

  • The main holiday must be notified 3 months before it is to be held.
  • Other holidays must be notified 1 month before it is to be held.

Your employer can notify you of an upcoming holiday period, even if you have not earned the necessary holidays yet, if it is to be expected that you will have accrued the needed number of days by the time of the holiday period.

In addition, your employer must take your wishes into account. This is especially true of wishes for a holiday during the school holidays if you have children in school.

Can I take time off in advance if I haven't earned enough holiday?

You earn 2.08 holidays per month. However, you can take holiday in advance, even if you have not yet accrued holiday days, if you enter into a written agreement with your employer. Please note that your employer is not obliged to make such an agreement.

In addition to the holiday, you can take the holiday days off to which you are entitled, and possibly time off in lieu.

What are the rules if your workplace is closed for the holidays?

Your employer can only require you to take a mandatory holiday if you have earned salary or holiday allowance to finance it. However, this does not apply if the company is closed for the holidays.

Your employer must comply with the requirement to notify a company closure with a minimum of 1 month's notice for the rest of the holiday and with 3 months if the employer stays closed during the summer months and wants to give notice that you must take your main holiday.

Will you receive a salary if your place of work is closed for the holidays?

However, your employer must, as far as possible, ensure that you are entitled to pay during holidays where the company is closed.

If you have been employed throughout the previous holiday year and up to the company closure, your employer must pay you during the holiday in advance, even if you have not earned the right to pay during the holiday yet. Your employer will then in turn have the right to set it off against the holiday that you have taken if you resign and have not earned pay for the prepaid holiday yet.

If your employer still has not ensured that you have holiday saved for the period of company closure, your employer must pay you a salary for those days.

If you have not been employed for the entire previous holiday year, you cannot demand that the employer pay you during the closure. However, you can always agree with your employer that you will receive pay during the holiday in advance in exchange for the employer being entitled to set-off in your salary.

What happens if you are prevented from taking holiday?

If you are prevented from taking your holiday before the end of the holiday period on 31 December due to illness or another external event, this is a holiday prevention (Feriehindring).

You can be prevented from taking holiday for these reasons: illness, maternity/paternity leave and adoption, while being busy at work does not count as a preventive factor. 

If one of the above conditions apply, your holiday (1st - 4th holiday week) is transferred to the following holiday period (1 September - 31 December of the following year). If you have not kept the 5th holiday week, your employer must automatically pay out the week after the end of the holiday period, unless you agree that the week must be transferred.

If you are still prevented from taking your holiday when the next holiday period expires, the holiday must be transferred again. It is not possible to get paid for the first 4 weeks of holiday due to a holiday prevention with the exception of prevention due to illness or maternity/paternity leave.

If you are prevented from taking holiday due to you being ill or on maternity/paternity leave until the end of the holiday period, 4 weeks are transferred to the following period. Holidays in excess of 4 weeks are paid unless you agree that this must be transferred. It is only after the expiry of 2 following holiday periods that you can have the holiday paid out on condition that you have not had the opportunity to take the holiday during the holiday period. You can also choose to transfer the holiday the 3rd time.

You can find an overview of all valid factors for prevention of holidays at

What do I do if I fall ill during my holidays?

Read about illness during holidays

What are the rules about holidays and parental leave?

Read about holidays and maternity/paternity leave