New rules for parental leave from 2 August 2022

New rules from August 2022

The new rules for parental leave apply to parents of children born on or after 2 August 2022. It is the date on which your baby is born, and not the estimated date of delivery, that determines which rules apply to you. For example, if the estimated date of delivery is 30 July 2022 but you give birth on 6 August 2022, you will be covered by the new rules for parental leave.

Right to parental leave

Changes to the Danish Maternity/Paternity Leave Act mean that the mother is now entitled to 10 instead of 14 weeks of leave. The father/non-birth mother is still entitled to 2 weeks of leave in connection with childbirth, and both parents are also still entitled to 32 weeks of parental leave. There are no changes to the rules on pregnancy leave.

Right to parental leave benefits

From 2 August 2022 the 48 weeks of parental leave benefits will be divided equally between both parents, provided both parents live at the same address when the baby is born. Therefore, as a general rule, each parent has 24 weeks of leave with parental leave benefits after the baby is born (the 24-24 model). If both parents are salaried employees, 11 of these weeks with parental leave benefits are earmarked, and these weeks cannot be transferred between the parents. The remaining 13 weeks can be transferred from one parent to the other.

Right to paid parental leave

  • The mother is entitled to 6 weeks of paid pregnancy leave before the estimated date of delivery.
  • The mother is entitled to paid parental leave for the 10 weeks immediately following the birth (maternity leave).
  • The father/non-birth mother is still entitled to paid parental leave for the 2 weeks in connection with childbirth (paternity leave).
  • Parents are entitled to paid parental leave for 23 weeks, which are divided up as follows:
  • 10 weeks are earmarked for the mother
  • 7 weeks are earmarked for the father/non-birth mother
  • 6 weeks can be divided between the parents

Illustration borrowed from borger.dk:

Mother

As a mother, you are entitled to 6 weeks of pregnancy leave before the estimated date of delivery and 24 weeks of leave after your baby is born.  

After your baby is born, your 24 weeks of leave are divided up in the following way:

  • 2 weeks of compulsory maternity leave earmarked for the mother in connection with childbirth (paid leave).
  • 8 weeks of maternity leave (weeks 3 – 10) (paid leave).
    • All or some of the 8 weeks of maternity leave from weeks 3–10 can be transferred to the father/non-birth mother. You can transfer this leave in two ways: either the father/non-birth mother can take leave in weeks 3–10 or he/she can choose to defer the leave.
    • You can return to work full time in the weeks you transfer, but this means that the father/non-birth mother must take leave in weeks 3–10.
    • You can go directly to your 14 weeks of parental leave immediately after your two weeks of compulsory maternity leave. This means that you are still on leave, which gives the father/non-birth mother the right to defer any of the 8 weeks you transfer to him/her and to take them before the child is 1 year old. By mutual agreement between the father/non-birth mother and his/her employer, the father/non-birth mother can extend this period by going back to work part time or can defer this leave and take it before the child is 9 years old (i.e. and resume work full time).
    • If you choose to transfer all or some of the 8 weeks to the father/non-birth mother, you both need to notify your employers of this 4 weeks before the estimated date of delivery.
  • 14 weeks of parental leave – 10 weeks are paid
    • 9 of the 14 weeks of parental leave are earmarked for you and must be taken before the child is 1 year old. If you do not take these earmarked weeks of leave, you will lose your right to parental leave benefits and thus also your right to paid leave. It is not possible to transfer these earmarked weeks with parental leave benefits.
    • You can choose to transfer your remaining 5 weeks of leave to the father/non-birth mother, who must take this leave before the child is 9 years old.
    • You can also defer your remaining 5 weeks of leave and take them yourself before the child is 9 years old.

As a mother, you are entitled to up to 26 weeks of paid leave if you also take the 6 weeks of paid leave that can be divided between the parents. As a general rule, the weeks of parental leave benefits are divided equally between the parents, whereby both parents have a right to 24 weeks of parental leave benefits. This may lead to cases where AU cannot obtain a salary reimbursement in weeks 25 and 26, which is usually a prerequisite for you receiving a salary while on leave. This situation can be resolved by the father/non-birth mother transferring the required number of weeks with parental leave benefits (up to 2 weeks) to the mother, which means that the mother will be entitled to a fully salary for the entire period. If these weeks with parental leave benefits are not transferred, the mother will receive a reduced salary equal to the difference between the parental leave allowance and the mother’s usual salary.

Father/non-birth mother

After your baby is born, your 24 weeks of leave as a father/non-birth mother are divided up in the following way:

  • 2 weeks of leave earmarked for the father/non-birth mother immediately after the baby is born or brought home from hospital (paid leave).
    • By mutual agreement with your employer, you can also choose to defer this leave and take it before your baby is 10 weeks old. As a general rule, you must take this leave in one single block, unless you have arranged otherwise with your employer.
  • 22 weeks of parental leave – 7 weeks are paid
    • 9 of the 22 weeks of parental leave are earmarked for you and must be taken before your child is 1 year old. If you do not take these earmarked weeks of leave, you will lose your right to parental leave benefits and thus also your right to paid leave. It is not possible to transfer these earmarked weeks with parental leave benefits.
    • The remaining 13 weeks can be transferred to the mother, who must take them before the child is 9 years old.
    • You can also defer your remaining 13 weeks of leave and take them yourself before the child turns 9.

Parents who do not live at the same address when their baby is born

The amended Danish Maternity/Paternity Leave Act contains a new rule that, if the parents do not live at the same address when their baby is born, the parent who shares the same officially registered address as the child will receive 13 weeks with parental leave benefits on top of their own 24 weeks with parental leave benefits. As a general rule, these 13 weeks of leave must be taken before the child is 1 year old.

The parent who does not share the same officially registered address as the child is only entitled to take 9 weeks of parental leave with parental leave benefits, which are earmarked. Because mothers and fathers/non-birth mothers employed in the state sector are entitled to up to 16 and 13 weeks (respectively) of parental leave, this can lead to situations in which the mother or father/non-birth mother cannot receive a salary during the last 7 or 4 weeks (respectively) of their parental leave, since they do not have a right to parental leave benefits during this period and thus AU cannot obtain a salary reimbursement. In this case, the employee in question will receive a reduced salary equal to the difference between the parental leave allowance and the employee’s usual salary.

Illustration borrowed from borger.dk:

Which rules apply if I am a single parent?

If you are a single parent, you are entitled to the same leave as stipulated in the current rules – 46 weeks of leave with parental leave benefits after the baby’s birth.  As a new rule, single mothers and single fathers now get the same amount of parental leave and can take up to 46 weeks of leave with parental leave benefits.

In addition, from 1 January 2024, single parents can choose to transfer some of their non-earmarked leave to a close family member, which can either be a parent or a sibling of the single parent. If one of the parents has died, it is possible to transfer these weeks of leave to a parent or sibling of the deceased. The close family member must take this leave before the child is 1 year old.