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Employment and dismissal

Ministry of Employment

Working hours

In most areas, standard working hours are 37 hours per week.

Working hours

As a general rule, the working hours in Denmark are laid down in an agreement, and for the vast majority of areas, normal working hours are agreed to 37 hours per week.

Working hours are primarily between Monday to Friday in the time frame between 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. The lunch break is normally 30 minutes long. At certain workplaces, the lunch break is paid as part of general working hours, while at others it is paid by the employees themselves.

For employees over the age of 18, the EU Working Time Directive also provides the following framework for working hours:

  • A daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours.

  • A break during a work day exceeding 6 hours. The length of the break depends on the purpose of the break, e.g. whether it is a break intended for a meal.

  • One 24-hour period off per week, which must follow directly a daily rest period. No more than six 24-hour periods between two 24-hour periods off are allowed.

  • Weekly working hours of maximum 48 hours on average, incl. overtime.

  • An employee on night shift must not work more than 8 hours on average per 24-hour period.

In some cases, these rules may be derogated from in collective agreements.

Overtime

Overtime is normal in certain jobs, and can either result in compensatory leave as a supplement to the 5-week annual leave, or it can be paid out as part of one’s salary. It is important that the contracts contain clear rules pertaining to whether the over-time work is to be compensated for, or paid out as salary, and how over time is to be settled.

Working hours for minors

For minors between the ages of 13 and 15, working hours may not exceed 2 hours on those days the minor attends school and 7 hours on school-free days. The weekly working hours may not exceed 12 hours a week in weeks with school days and 35 hours a week in school-free weeks.

15 to 17 year-olds who are subject to attending compulsory education may work 2 hours a day on school days and 8 hours a day on days that are not school days. The weekly working hours may not exceed 12 hours a week in weeks with school days and 40 hours a week in school-free weeks.

The working hours for 15 to 17 year-olds who are no longer subject to attending compulsory education may not exceed the customary working hours for adults working in the same sector. Working hours may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.

Written by: The Ministry of Employment Updated 01.12.2020

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