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Pay and working hours

In the Danish labour market pay and working hours are primarily regulated by collective agreement or individual employment contracts. There is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark, however there is legislation governing issues such as maximum weekly hours and rest periods.

Foreign companies can obtain information about wage conditions in the key collective agreement areas by consulting with the labour market organisations.

By seeking information about agreements applying to the work the company performs, the company can gain knowledge about the wage conditions which the company may be encompassed by.
There is no legal requirement for companies working in Denmark to enter into a collective agreement. But both Danish and foreign companies may find that a trade union requires/demands they enter a collective agreement and that the union may instigate industrial action in the context of this.

Read more about entering collective agreements

Pay conditions

There is no statutory minimum wage in Denmark. Wages are typically agreed in collective agreements for different types of work.

For some types of work, pay will be expressed as the amount that employees must be paid per hour, for example. In other sectors pay may be agreed in another way, for instance, as piece rate payment, profit linked payment or similar.

Some collective agreements may make provision for a personally negotiated supplement to the minimum rate or for pay to be fixed through negotiation with the company. The overall wage package is often greater than the hourly wage because of other wage components.

In all cases a company can obtain information about which pay is awarded in the sector in question by reviewing the collective agreements and any appendices.

An employer is obliged to pay the agreed wage.

The Danish Labour Market Fund for Posted Workers

Employees posted to work in Denmark and covered by a collective agreement can, in some circumstances, receive their salary via the Danish Labour Market Fund for Posted Workers if they cannot get their employer to pay.

Read more about the Danish Labour Market Fund for Posted Workers

Agreements on working hours

As a general rule, working hours in Denmark are fixed by collective agreement and, in the great majority of sectors, standard working hours are 37 hours weekly. This has had a knock-on effect in many of the sectors that do not have a collective agreement.

For employees over 18 years of age, the EU Working Time Directive sets the following restrictions on working hours:

  • A daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours
  • A break during any working day lasting longer than 6 hours. The length of the break depends on its purpose, for example, a food break
  • One day (24 hours) free per week, which must be an extension of a daily rest period. There may not be more than 6 working days between 2 rest days
  • A working week of maximum 48 hours on average including overtime
  • A night worker may not work more than 8 hours per 24-hour period on average.

Obligation to be available for employer

If an employee is obliged to be available for an employer, the deciding factor is whether the employee must be available at or outside the workplace:

If an employee is available at the workplace it is not counted as rest time (daily rest period)

If the employee is available outside the workplace, for example at the employee's home, it is counted as rest time when work is not being carried out.

The rules may be waived

It is possible to waive the regulations on daily rest periods and weekly rest days in agricultural and horticultural work and in the care of people, animals and plants. The daily rest period for work in agriculture and horticulture, for example, can be reduced to 8 hours for 30 days of the year, and the weekly rest day can either be postponed or re-scheduled.

The regulations on daily rest periods and weekly rest days do not apply to:

  • Work in an employer's private residence
  • Certain types of work in the road transport sector.

Special regulations apply to work with loading and unloading, and to employees under the age of 18.

Any questions?

Contact the Ministry of Employment

Telephone hours
Monday to Thursday 8.30-16.0
Friday 8.30-15.30

+45 72 20 50 00
bm@bm.dk