Planning to take time off this summer? Know your rights

Summer is almost here, and with it the promise of a relaxing holiday. But what are your rights if your boss asks you to reschedule your time off? Can you ask to have it moved? And what if something comes up and you can’t go?

Once your request for time off has been approved, it generally can’t be changed – neither by you nor your employer.

Normally, your employer can only reschedule approved time off if the following conditions are met:

  • there is a significant operational requirement
  • the reason for rescheduling the time off could not have been foreseen / predicted
  • there is a reason why you, specifically, need to work, and not someone else

Put another way, your employer must be faced with a situation that could be considered force majeure. This rules out situations such as illness amongst a large number of your co-workers, a co-worker’s resignation or a co-worker going on paternity leave.

If you would like to move your time off after your request has been approved, your employer must consent.

If your time off is rescheduled before it begins

If your employer reschedules your time off claiming force majeure, your employer must reimburse you for any expenses you incur as a result. Expenses that must be reimbursed include: money paid in advance in connection with your time off, costs associated with renting a holiday home or other non-refundable costs.

If you are a public-sector employee working for a state employer, and you are given less than three months’ notice (hovedferie – main holiday period) or one month’s notice (restferie – secondary holiday period) that your employer is rescheduling your time off, you must be given an additional 1.8 hours of extra paid time off for each rescheduled day off. You also have the right to take time off at a later date. The same applies if your employer agrees to give you time off during another period but later asks you to reschedule it.

Public-sector employees working for a local and regional employer do not receive special compensation.

Private-sector employees receive special compensation only if they have agreed on it with their employer, or if it is a part of their collective agreement.

Can I be asked to return to work early?

If you are a private-sector employee, you cannot be asked to return to work early, unless you have given your employer permission to do so ahead of time.

If you work for a regional or local public-sector employer, you cannot be asked to return to work early.

If you are a public-sector employee working for a state employer, your employer can ask you to return to work early. If this happens, your employer is required to compensate you for any financial loss incurred as a result. You must also be given an additional 3.6 hours of paid time off for each day early you had to return to work. In addition, you have the right to take the time off at a later date.

If you are prevented from taking time off

Scheduled time off can be cancelled in the event of personal illness, paternity leave (either for a biological or adopted child) or other special circumstances.

The circumstances must apply to you individually, not your child or spouse.

If your situation prevents you from taking all your time off, any unused time off will be banked and available to you after the changeover to the new system on 1 September.

Read more about the new system

If you have questions about the rules for earing and using time off in Denmark, we’re here to help. Contact us on 33 95 97 00.