Time off for Christmas?

Christmas is right around the corner. For a lot of people, that means enjoying some days off during Christmas leave. But the rules for how those days off are registered, and whether you get paid, differ depending on your situation

If you are a salaried employee, you have the right to paid time off on public holidays. At Christmas, the public holidays are the 25th and the 26th of December (known in Danish as 1. juledag and 2. juledag). New Year’s Day (nytårsdag) is also a public holiday. You get all three days off, with pay.

Neither the day before Christmas (juleaftensdag) nor the 31st of December (nytårsaftensdag) are public holidays. Your employment contract should state whether you are given these days off even if your company is open. If you aren’t but want to take those days off anyway, you need to request to be able to use paid days off.

Many firms close on the 24th of December and the 31st of December, even though they aren’t public holidays. Some close down entirely between Christmas and New Year’s. In these cases, special rules apply that you’ll need to be aware of.

Closed on unofficial holidays

If your company closes, different rules apply for employees who have earned 15 days or more of paid time off with their current employer and those who have earned fewer.

The number of paid days off you have is determined by how long you’ve worked for your company. Each calendar month, you earn 2.08 days off for use during the next holiday period.

That means that in order to have earned 15 days off with your current employer that you can use during the current holiday period (which began on the 1st of May 2019 and ends on the 30th of April 2020) you need to have been there for seven months in 2018.

More than 15 paid days off

If you earned 15 paid days off or more, and if your employer plans to close between Christmas and New Year’s, you need to be told to bank the days off you will need to cover the days the company is closed. 

If your employer didn’t tell you to bank days off, and if you don’t have any left, your employer is required to give you those days off, with pay, anyway (the Danish term for this is frihed med løn). 

If you have days off coming to you, you need take them if you were given fair warning by your employer that the company would be closing down. A full explanation of what constitutes fair warning could get a little too long-winded for our purposes here, but if you think you might not have been given fair warning, give us a ring and we can help you out. 

Less than 15 days off

If you earned fewer than 15 paid days off, you can’t be asked to bank them. In that case, if you were given fair warning that the company would be closing at Christmas, you can either use your paid days off or take unpaid days off. 

If the situation results in you having to take time off without pay, and of you have unemployment insurance (a-kasse), you may be entitled to holiday benefits (feriedagpenge) or unemployment benefits (arbejdsløshedsdagpenge). Check with your a-kasse if you think you might qualify.

Revised Holiday act

Changes to the Holiday Act taking effect on 1 September of next year will affect how you earn days off and when you can use them. Learn more about what the changes mean for you.