New rules for care leave have come into force

New rules for care leave have come into force

In connection with the implementation of parts of the Parental Leave Directive, on 9 June 2022 the Danish Parliament adopted new rules for care days, flexible working hours and extended leave.

Parts of the bill will come into effect on 1 January 2023, and others will not come into effect until 1 January 2024. Furthermore, there is a transitional period which entered into force at the same time as the new maternity act on 2 August 2022.

5 days of care leave per year

The rules entitle employees to 5 days of care leave each calendar year, effective from 1 January 2023. The right to care leave is a right to absence without pay and can be granted to an employee who wishes to provide personal care or support to a family member, either parents, children or siblings, or a person living in the same household as the employee, for example, a stepchild. It can either be taken as a total period or as individual days. Moreover, it is a requirement that there is a need for significant care or support due to a serious health condition, which is why the employer can require medical documentation of the need.

The care days cannot be saved up or transferred, and unused care days expire at the end of the year.

The transitional period from 2 August 2022 to 31 December 2022

It has been decided that there will be a transitional period for the right to care leave, which came into force at the same time as the new maternity act on 2 August 2022. During the transitional period, employees are entitled to 2 care days. After the end of the transitional period on 31 December 2022, employees are entitled to 5 care days per calendar year.

Special protection of the employee in connection with care leave

If the employee uses their right to care leave, the employee also has the right to return to the same job with the same working conditions. The employee’s working conditions may be improved, but they must not be less favourable for the employee.

After 6 months of seniority, the employee has the right to request changed working hours for a specified period. When taking the employer’s position, the needs of both the employer and the employee must be taken into account, and the employer must give the employee an answer to the request within a reasonable period of time. If the request is refused, the employer must also provide the employee with a reason for this.

If the employee is dismissed because of the request for or the use of care leave, a rule on shared burden of proof will apply. If the employee provides evidence that the dismissal is due to the request for or the use of care leave, then it is the employer’s responsibility to prove that the dismissal is justified by other circumstances.

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