Working in Denmark

Many questions may arise if you are a foreign employee in Denmark.

At this web page you can read about the Danish labour market and your rights as an employee in Denmark.

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The Danish Labour Market

In Denmark most employees are organised in trade unions, and the employers are organised in employers' organisations.

The Folketing - the Danish Parliament - passes relatively few national laws for the labour market, because the employers and the trade unions agree on most of the rules in force on the labour market.

At regular intervals, the trade unions and the employers conclude collective agreements on salary and working conditions. Most collective agreements are nationwide and as such apply to many companies within a certain sector. In the collective agreements also rules for bonus for evening and night work, pension, salary in case of sickness, possibilities of training, and much more are laid down.

Employees have the right to at least five weeks' holiday each year paid by the employers. Employers also have a duty to secure proper breaks, and that the work can be done in a safe way, for example by providing safety equipment for the employees. And the company has the duty of informing the employees about health and safety regulations and safety directions in a language which they understand.

In almost all companies the members of the trade union elect a shop steward who will help you to get what you have the right to get.

In companies with at least ten employees it is statutory that a health and safety group is set up in each department. The safety group works for a safe and healthy working environment. The safety group consists of the supervisor of the department and a health and safety representative elected by the employees. In companies with at least twenty employees also a health and safety committee has to be set up which takes care of questions of overriding importance to the employees' health and safety. In companies with nine employees or less, the health and safety work is done by the company owner and the employees jointly.

The shop steward and the trade union can help you with practical questions about salary, working conditions, taxes, pension, training, and much more. And if the employer does not respect the collective agreement, the trade union can take the employer to court and try to secure you for instance salary.

Why Should I Be a Member of NNF?

The trade union NNF secures good working conditions and a good salary for all our members.

At NNF we do not distinguish between nationalities. NNF will fight for your and your colleagues' rights irrespective of your native country.

Being a foreign colleague you may have problems in understanding Danish. When you join the NNF, the trade union will help you look through contracts and documents so that you are not cheated.

Should you, unluckily, have an industrial accident, then part of NNF's service to our members is to see to it that they get the compensation and help which they are entitled to get.

Unfortunately, we have seen examples where foreign colleagues have been treated badly by Danish employers. If you are employed with an employer who does not live up to the salary promised or in other ways treats you badly then NNF can take up the case for consideration and try to secure you a proper compensation.

The Trade Union NNF

NNF organises skilled and unskilled employees within slaughtering and meat industry, bakeries, dairies, chocolate and sweets, and tobacco industry.

NNF has about 20.000 members in both large and small companies and is a member of the Danish employees' federation, FH.

NNF's most important task is to secure our members a good salary and safe working conditions.

Questions and Answers

  • What are my rights as an employee?

    You must always have a contract of employment with information about salary, working hours, and the collective agreement in force. You must also always be informed of the company's rules about absence due to sickness. When in doubt, ask your shop steward in the company or your trade union NNF about your rights.

  • How much should I be paid?

    The collective agreement between NNF and the employers shows your salary. Fundamentally, employees working under the same collective agreement have the right to equal salary for equal work.

  • How much holiday am I entitled to?

    You are always entitled to at least five weeks' holiday a year. You earn a holiday allowance paid by the employer according to the period you have been working in Denmark. Holiday allowance earned in a certain calendar year will be paid the following year. If you stop working in Denmark, the employer will pay you the holiday allowance earned.

  • Is a special permit necessary to work in Denmark?

    The rules vary depending on your native country. If a work and/ or residence permit is required, your employer should see to this within four weeks after you start working in Denmark.

  • Are foreign workers covered by the Danish rules on sickness benefit?

    Yes, being employed in Denmark, you are covered by the Danish rules on sickness benefit.

  • Am I covered by the Danish rules on industrial accidents?

    Yes, being employed in Denmark, the Danish rules cover you, too. Should you have an industrial accident, please contact immediately your local NNF Branch.

  • Am I to pay taxes in Denmark?

    Yes, when you work in Denmark, you must pay taxes in Denmark. You can get a tax deduction for driving between your residence and your work. And you can deduct the trade union dues from your taxes. There are special rules for employees working in Denmark and residing abroad.

  • Am I entitled to old age pension from Denmark if I go home?

    Yes, you can apply for old age pension in accordance with the number of years which you have been working in Denmark. You should apply from your native country.


  • How is my position in case I have a car accident on my way home or on my way to Denmark?

    You are subject to the Danish rules on sickness benefit, but you may have problems with the language when filling in the forms. Feel free to contact your local NNF Branch.

  • How much does it cost to be a member of the trade union NNF?

    The price varies depending on which local NNF branch you would belong to. Therefore you should ask your shop steward or your local NNF Branch. The price is the same whether you are married or live alone. The dues can be deducted from your taxes.

  • Does the trade union NNF employ people speaking other languages than Danish?

    Some employees speak German and/or English. And NNF cooperates with interpreters who can translate to other languages. NNF tries to give the same good service to all members, but it may take a bit longer to treat your enquiry if we have to get hold of an interpreter first.

  • Can I join a Danish unemployment fund and be entitled to unemployment benefit?

    Yes, you can become a member of NNF's unemployment fund when you work in Denmark. To be entitled to unemployment benefit you would have to be a member of the unemployment fund for at least one year and have had 1924 working hours. If you lose your job, you can stay in Denmark and look for another job while you receive unemployment benefit. You could also take the Danish unemployment benefit with you to your native country. Ask for the rules at NNF's unemployment fund.

  • Where can I obtain answers to other questions?

    You are always very welcome to contact your shop steward or the trade union NNF if you have questions. We are aware of language problems, but NNF cooperates with interpreters.

    You can get further information in your local NNF Branch.

    Find more information about working in Denmark on this official website: Work in Denmark