Working hours


In Denmark, working time is regulated by different rules and regulations. Get an overview here.
Denmark has no general law on working hours. The working time is determined in the employment contract, which may be part of a collective agreement or a local agreement. However, by law there are three rules on working time; “the 11-hour rule”, “he rule regarding one weekly day and night time off”, and “the 48-hour rule”.  
 
“The 11-hour rule” can be found in the Working Environment Act. The rule stipulates that the employee is entitled to 11 hours of rest within a period of 24 hours. 
The Working Environment Act further states that the employee is entitled to a weekly day and night time off. 
 
“The 48-hour rule” states that during a period of four months the average working time per week cannot exceed 48 hours. Thus, the weekly working time may be higher in some weeks if the employee is compensated with shorter working time in other weeks. This rule is originally from EU’s directive on working time. 
 
It is part-time if your working time is shorter than the normal working time in your workplace. Typically the working time in Denmark is set to 37 hours per week. If the working time is shorter than that it is called part-time. 
 
As an employee your working time must be more than eight hours per week to be a part of the Employers’ and Salaried Employees’ Act (in Danish: Funktionærloven).
 
Normally the salary is calculated in proportion to the reduced working time. E.g. if the working time is reduced with seven hours in a 37-hour job the monthly salary is typically 30/37. Notice, that going to and from part-time working hours can affect your holiday allowance.  
 
Flexitime
Flexitime means that your working time may be within certain set intervals. Thus, your daily working time can vary according to your needs and your work assignments. With flexitime you can save up extra work hours for later time off in lieu – similarly it will often be possible to owe work hours as well. 
 
Most flexitime schemes have a core time and a flexitime. The core time specifies the period in which you have to be at work. Flexitime indicates a certain number of hours before and after the core time where you can either be at work or take time off in lieu. 
 
Typically, there are rules for taking time off in lieu. Examples of rules could be whether you are allowed to take whole days off or only a few hours (e.g. outside the core time), and whether your manager has to approve it or you can manage it yourself. 
 
Fixed salary
The term ‘fixed salary’ means that management on the one hand want a fixed salary cost to calculate with, but on the other hand do not want an upper limit on your working hours. This way you know the size of your monthly paycheque, but you do not know how many hours you have to work for your money. Even though you in your contract have a set working time – e.g. 37 hours per week – you may still be employed on a fixed salary basis.
 
It is important what your contract says about compensation for work time exceeding the set working time. Can you take time off in lieu or get paid for extra work time beyond the set working time? If nothing is specified in the contract you might be employed on a fixed salary basis. Notice, that there are different terms for ‘fixed salary’, such as ‘gross salary’ and ‘hired on a contract basis’. 
 
Overtime
You have to work overtime if you are asked to do so. You can only deviate from this main rule if something very urgent or pressing forces you to. Also, the more important the overtime work is to your employer, the more urgent your personal reasons have to be to refuse it. Whether the grounds for refusal are important enough will always be based on a concrete estimation of the situation.
 
Contact IDA if you are in doubt about whether you can refuse to work overtime in a specific situation.  
 
There are no set regulations for the notification of overtime work unless it is stated in your contract or an agreement. Essentially, this means you must agree to work overtime without notice. However, the shorter the notice, the less it requires for you to refuse to do it.
 
Whether the notice and your reasons for refusal correspond to each other will always be based on a concrete estimation of the situation. Additionally, an evaluation of whether the employer at an earlier time could have/should have predicted the need for overtime work will be part of this estimation.
 
You are only entitled to take time off in lieu or get paid for overtime when it is stated in your contract or an agreement with your employer. 
 
Contact IDA if you are in doubt about whether you can refuse to work overtime in a specific situation.