The university has identified a need to modernise and compile the rules on leave for the employees. The rules concern leave from the university, for example for the purpose of working with/conducting research for another employer or for other purposes outside the university. 

The rules apply to all employees at Aarhus University – academic staff members and technical/administrative staff members, part-time and full-time employees. 

The rules have been laid down by the rector upon recommendation from the Negotiating Board under the Main Liaison Committee and following discussion in the Main Liaison Committee on 14 June 2005. The rules replace the previous rules, which were adopted by the Senate at a meeting on 27 February 1975.

Types of leave 

Leave of absence means that an employee is excused from all or some of his or her duties at the university for a specific period of time, with the right and the obligation to return to a position within the area of employment when such a period expires. 

Generally, employees have no legal entitlement to a leave of absence, but the university may grant an employee leave upon application. The cases where an employee has a legal entitlement to a leave of absence are mentioned in the next section. 

As a rule, leave is granted without pay. However, there are a few cases where an employee may be granted paid leave. It is mentioned in the following whether the individual types of leave may be granted with pay. In some cases, a partner, or perhaps a research council, provides funding for employment of a temporary substitute (sometimes called ‘workload reduction’). 

Academic staff members may apply for the department head’s permission to concentrate for a period of time on one or more specific tasks (typically research) within the university’s focus area. This is not, however, deemed to be a leave of absence. 

Examples of situations where the employee has a legal entitlement to a leave of absence

  • Leave for joint Nordic exchange 

Employees who for a limited period are to work in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretariat and the Nordic Council Secretariat or in joint Nordic institutions, have the right to a leave of absence during the time the work lasts. However, the period may not exceed eight years. Leave is granted without pay and is included in the salary seniority.

  • Leave to care for close relatives and seriously ill children under 18 years of age and hospitalisation together with children under 14 years of age

An employee who, pursuant to section 19a of the Danish Act on Benefits in the Event of Illness or Childbirth (Lov om dagpenge ved sygdom eller fødsel), is entitled to benefits in connection with caring for ill children under 18 years of age, is entitled to full or partial leave with pay during the same period. However, the university may limit the right to leave to one month per year per child. In addition, further leave may be granted without pay. 

An employee who, pursuant to section 104 of the Danish Act on Social Services (Lov om social service), is granted care allowance in connection with caring for close relatives who wish to die in their own home, is entitled to full or partial leave with pay during the same period. The university will pay the employee full pay during the leave period in return for receiving the care allowance during the same period. 

Leave periods with or without pay or reduced working hours for the above-mentioned purposes are included fully in the salary seniority and in building up reckonable service. For employees with insurance-based pension schemes, the university continuously pays the agreed employer’s contribution and the employee’s own contribution to the employee’s pension plan. 

In accordance with the collective agreement concluded between the Danish Central Federation of State Employees’ Organisations (CFU) and the Ministry of Finance, employees are entitled as of 1 April 2005 to time off with pay for a period of up to five days within 12 consecutive months if they are hospitalised together with a child under 14 years of age.If both parents are employed in the state sector, they may be granted a maximum of five days combined per child.

  • Leave for service abroad, international organisations and Greenland home rule 

Employees have a legal entitlement to unpaid leave if they are deployed abroad as part of Denmark’s development cooperation with developing countries, are deployed abroad to work with international organisations which Denmark participates in or collaborates with, or are employed with Greenland Home Rule. According to practice, employees who are not deployed but instead employed abroad in the above-mentioned situations also have a legal entitlement to unpaid leave. 

The employee’s spouse also has a legal entitlement to unpaid leave, provided that the employee accompanies his or her spouse/cohabitant to the place of work abroad or in Greenland. The right to a leave of absence is not for a limited period. For employees who are deployed, the leave period is included in the salary seniority. For accompanying spouses/cohabitants, the leave period is not included in the salary seniority.

  • Maternity/paternity leave 

Extended and flexible maternity/paternity leave was introduced as from 1 January 2002 pursuant to Danish Act no. 141 of 25 March 2002, which came into force on 27 March 2002. For more information on parental leave for the father and the mother, reference is made to the pages concerning maternity/paternity leave. Here you can find detailed information about the entitlement to leave, the entitlement to benefits, the entitlement to pay, salary seniority, pension contributions, earning the right to paid holiday and anniversary seniority.

  • Leave for conscription and UN service 

Employees who are conscripted or who through a contract with the Danish Defence make themselves available for UN service etc. are entitled to a leave of absence. Employees will not receive pay during the first call-up. In connection with subsequent mandatory call-ups, employees will receive full pay for the month in which they are called up as well as for the next month. After training has been completed, conscription leave and – according to practice also – UN service leave etc. are included in the salary seniority. The employee earns the right to paid holiday during absence due to the employee doing military service of a maximum duration of one month. Employees on UN service leave etc. are subject to the general rules set out in the holiday agreement concerning holiday earned during unpaid leave. Absence due to military or civil defence service is included in the anniversary seniority if the absence is included in the salary seniority. For employees working under contract (voluntary service) in the Danish Defence, the service time is fully included in the anniversary seniority.

Other examples of leave

  • Leave for performing civic duties 

Civic duties are state-required services that citizens are under an obligation to perform. In addition, the rules also apply to the performance of duties as mayor etc. as well as to membership of the Danish Parliament and the European Parliament . Duties performed as a member of a local church council are not considered civic duties. There are no time limits for the leave period, and the period is included in the salary seniority and the reckonable service. 

If the civic duties are performed without pay, paid leave will be granted for a number of working hours corresponding as a maximum to the average weekly working hours for six weeks per calendar year. If the civic duties are performed with pay, unpaid leave will be granted. Civic duties are deemed to be with pay if payment is received for performing the duties or if it is possible to be compensated for loss of earnings.


Aarhus University supports the Reserve of the Armed Forces and is positive towards granting employees from the Reserve of the Armed Forces leave of absence to military duty and in-service training.

If duty and the specific situation of the local place of work permit, the employee may be granted absence of leave without salary to military in-service training and participation in international missions of up to 7 months. For more information see www.interforce.dk 

What are the university’s requirements for granting a leave of absence? 

Generally, it is a condition for being granted a leave of absence from a position at Aarhus University that the employee in question gains experience during the leave period that will benefit the university upon the employee’s return. Moreover, it is normally expected that the employee must have a period of employment with the university – without leave – of at least four times the duration of the leave period applied for. 

The granting of a leave of absence requires that the workplace tasks can be performed during the leave period. An application for leave should therefore be expected to be rejected in situations where the function must be maintained, but cannot be handled by a substitute (or colleagues). 

If a leave of absence is in conflict with the university’s interests – for example if the leave will cause problems in relation to the teaching activities or will create other problems at the local workplace – an application for a leave of absence may be rejected. To ensure that the day-to-day tasks can be performed, there will also be a limit on the number of employees at the same local workplace who can be granted a leave of absence at the same time. 

For what purposes can a leave of absence be granted and for how long? 

The purposes of a leave may vary considerably. Examples are temporary employment in a position outside Aarhus University, the holding of an honorary office, study visits or personal reasons such as leave granted to a spouse. It is up to the individual department or faculty to assess whether a leave can be granted in cases where there is no legal entitlement to a leave of absence. In this context, it may be considered whether the employee will acquire experience during his or her leave which may benefit the university and whether the university wishes to maintain the link to the employee in question. As the university employees are generally encouraged to engage themselves in life outside the university, it is recommended not to be too restrictive in respect of the purpose and duration of the leave. 

Flexibility is recommended in connection with a job change combined with a leave of absence (‘safety net’) – however, it is recommended that the leave period normally be limited to a maximum one year. 

A leave of absence is normally granted for one year only. The leave period may be extended upon renewed application. 

How does a leave of absence affect the accumulation of seniority (pay, pension, holiday, anniversary etc.)? 

Generally, leave is granted without pay and pension, and the leave period is included in the salary seniority.

Paid leave is, of course, included in the salary seniority. Leave for studying pursuant to the Danish Act on Leave (Lov om orlov) is not included in the salary seniority. Leave for childcare is included in the salary seniority for the period to which the employee is entitled under the Act. With effect from 1 April 2001, agreed childcare leave is also included in the salary seniority. Salary seniority is accumulated during maternity/paternity and adoption leave and childcare days. The same applies during conscription leave and UN service leave etc. as well as during leave to care for seriously ill children and relatives. 

Employees on paid leave (full or partial leave) earn the right to paid holiday. Employees on unpaid leave earn the right to paid holiday during the first six months of the unpaid leave period. 

In connection with maternity/paternity and adoption leave, reckonable service will be built up during the paid part of the leave and the first 14 weeks of the unpaid part of the leave. From 1 April 2005, the university will pay pension contributions during the entire unpaid part of the leave. If the 32 weeks of parental leave are extended to 40 or 46 weeks, however, no pension contributions will be paid during the additional eight or 14 weeks. 

Returning from leave 

It is a logical expectation that the employee will return to his or her position when the leave is over. No later than one month before the expiry of a leave period, employees must inform their immediate supervisor as to whether they want to return to their position at Aarhus University. If the employee wants to return, the department will notify the faculty accordingly. The faculty then submits a recommendation to the Personnel Office, which prepares a letter to the employee with information on the employee’s return to work. Please note that for positions in the ‘AU Administration and Joint University Functions’ area of employment, leave is granted with the right to return to a position in the wider scope of the ‘AU Administration’ area of employment. The employee is therefore not entitled to return to a specific position after the leave is over, but has to accept the possibility of being placed in another position within the AU Administration area.


Academic staff 

Applications for leave must be addressed to the employee’s immediate supervisor. If the immediate supervisor recommends that the application be accepted, the department submits a recommendation to the faculty, and the dean makes the final decision as to whether the application should be accepted. If the dean approves the leave, the faculty sends a recommendation to the Personnel Office, which draws up a grant of leave for the employee. 

In connection with partial leave (academic staff), the department head must be informed about the purpose of the leave and must ensure that the absence does not create problems in relation to the handling of the department’s overall tasks in the period in question.

Technical and administrative staff 

As concerns technical and administrative staff in the individual departments, the head of department will generally make the final decision on leaves of absence. At the Faculty of Theology, the dean/the head of the Rector's Staff makes this decision, and the university director/Personnel Office makes the decision at AU Administration.