For members


What to do if you lose your job in Denmark

It's never fun to lose your job, but luckily the Danish Salaried Employees Act gives you plenty of rights. Human resources expert Nancy Rasmussen gives you a rundown.

What to do if you lose your job in Denmark
Losing your job is hard, here's what you need to know. Photo: Colourbox
Editor's note: An updated version of this article can be found here.
It can be quite nerve wracking when you hear that the company you work for has announced plans to review their overall strategy for the future. There are various kinds of business needs that could be the catalyst, such as financial hardships or pending mergers. While it can sound like a good idea from a business point of view, it can also mean that there will be a restructuring, which may mean that some employees will lose their jobs. Here is some general advice on how to handle these situations and how it works in Denmark. 
First of all, DON’T PANIC! 

This is, of course, easier said than done, as it can be a very stressful time and there is often not enough communication around what will happen. But getting stressed out won’t help the situation at hand and could also negatively affect those around you. Unfortunately, you will likely be waiting around for information to come, and there is nothing that you can directly do, to make that process faster. Here is some information that may help to ease the stress of the waiting period.   
Notice periods 
If you are covered by the Danish Salaried Employees Act (Funktionærloven), then you are entitled to certain notice periods before any significant change happens to the terms of your employment. These notice periods cover things like notification of termination of employment or significant changes to your job duties. 
The amount of notice that you are entitled to is determined by how much seniority you have, as follows:

It should be noted that when you receive notice of pending termination, it means that your employment officially ends at the end of the notice period. Your company will inform you as to whether or not you need to continue to fulfil your job duties for any part of your notice period. 
When you have worked at the company for 12 or more years, you are also entitled to additional compensation, per the Danish Salaried Employees Act, if you are let go from your job.  This rule was recently modified, so the additional compensation as of February 2015 is as follows:

When you are covered by the Danish Salaried Employees Act and are entitled to a bonus per your employment contract, you are still entitled to receive a payment from the bonus programme when your employment is terminated. The payment is prorated based on how many months you worked in the year. For example, let’s say that you belong to a bonus programme based on your work in 2015 and the bonus is normally paid out in Q1 2016. Even if you are terminated after six months of work in 2015, you will still receive a bonus payment that is based on those six months of work, usually with your last paycheck. 
Additional payments
It is possible that your company will also provide other additional payments due to restructuring activities. This varies from company to company and is not part of the Danish Salaried Employees Act. 
While all this is meant to reassure you that you will receive ample warning and some payments to cover your transition period, it is not meant to imply that that is the only factor that causes stress during a restructuring. Many of us work because we enjoy our jobs and have plans for our careers, which can be suddenly thrown off course by these restructuring initiatives. But we live in a world that can be quite uncertain, so if we are concerned about career development and advancement, then there are some things that we should always be doing, in good times and bad, to cast ourselves in the best light possible.  In my next article I will discuss career development and advancement and what we as employees can do.  
Nancy Rasmussen is currently employed as a Change Management Consultant, supporting IT projects. She has more than 12 years of experience within large, international companies. She writes this column in her free-time in connection with NemCV. This column is not affiliated with her current full-time employment. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

Job searching in Denmark can be a daunting and lengthy process with many hurdles to overcome. The Local spoke to Kay Xander Mellish, author of 'How to Work in Denmark', for her tips on submitting a successful CV and application.

Ten ways to improve your chances of finding a job in Denmark

CVs in Denmark often have certain aspects of layout, presentation and content in common. By writing a CV that sticks to some of these recognisable customs, you may improve your chances of catching the eye of a potential employer.

1. Length

“Keep it to one excellent page, or two if you’re more senior. I’d say if you’re aged 30 and under, one page will be enough. Only add the jobs that are relevant. Employers don’t want to hear about that restaurant server or babysitting job if it’s not relevant to the role,” Mellish said.

2. Format

At the top of your CV, a paragraph describing your experience, skills, education and character is a common way to lead into a CV. This text can be adapted depending on the job you’re applying for and how you want to present your skills.

“Add three adjectives about yourself that you can support with an example, rather than ten adjectives with no story. For example, say you are innovative for this reason. People don’t like hot air in Denmark,” Mellish said.

Aside from the profile text, chronological lists of qualifications, relevant employment history and other relevant experience should be kept brief enough to fit the one to two pages.

3. Show your personal side and a photo

It is expected that applicants include a section about their hobbies, even family situation on their CV in Denmark, as well as a photo, to give a sense of who they are as a person.

“Danish employers are interested in you as a human, more so than employers in other countries so include information about yourself, including your age and your hobbies.

“Choose a good quality photo that is not too serious but shows you looking friendly and approachable,” Mellish said.

4. Story telling

“Think in terms of story telling”, Mellish advised. “Pure letters and numbers don’t mean a lot to employers in Denmark, they need to know what projects you’ve done, what role you played and what kind of person you are through your CV.

“So rather than writing ‘I have these grades’, it’s better to say ‘I worked on this project, it took this long, I achieved this'”, Mellish said.

5. Hit the ground running

Mellish called this “plug and play”, where you show you will slot right into the company and get going with the role.

“When employers are reading your CV, they want to know what you can do on day one of the job. Sell your ability to solve someone’s problem. You need to give the impression you can add value straight away.

“In Denmark the average length of time in a job is two and a half years, because you can take your pension when you move, so employers don’t want someone they need to spend time training,” Mellish told The Local.

READ ALSO: Five tips for writing an effective Danish CV

6. Teamwork

“Group work is very important in Denmark, more than individual achievements. So talk about your teamwork and how you worked with a group to produce a good business result. It shouldn’t be ‘me, me, me’ – that’s a turn off,” Mellish said.

7. LinkedIn

“People in Denmark love LinkedIn so you need a fabulous LinkedIn profile with a good picture. Before anyone calls you for an interview they’ll have looked at your LinkedIn profile.

“In your profile, include the storytelling, explaining the projects you’ve worked on. If your job involves a uniform, I recommend wearing it in your LinkedIn photo so people get that impression of you right away. Your background photo should also be work-related, not rainbows or puppies. Use it to tell the story of who you are,” Mellish advised.

8. Unsolicited application

This is when you approach a company or department you would like to work for, without a job being advertised. The Danish term for it is uopfordret ansøgning. 

“Many people make contact on LinkedIn and ask to meet for a coffee, where they chat and rather than pitch for a job, they ask if the person knows anyone looking for someone like them. Danish employers welcome this and many people are hired this way,” Mellish said.

Another way to network is to join a union, Mellish advised. They often have career events but can also help read your contract when you get a job offer, or help with any problems in the workplace. 

9. Ring the recruiter

The phone number of the hiring manager will often be in the job advert. Mellish advised finding a quiet place to ring them from and spending ten to fifteen minutes asking some good business questions.

“This also helps you work out if you might want to work for this person,” Mellish said.

“Send your CV within 24 hours of the phone call and mention you spoke to them in your application,” she added.

10. Patience

“On average it can take six months to find a job in Denmark. If it’s under this, you’re lucky. If it takes a year, it’s not you, it just takes a long time because employers are looking for someone to fit into their team.

“I wrote 100 letters, I got ten responses, three interviews and one job which I had for eight years,” Mellish told The Local.

“Danish employers are not always good at getting back to you. If you don’t hear anything, just keep applying for other jobs. If you sent an application on June 1st, you could send a follow-up email on June 15th, then you’ll have to leave it and move on,” she advised. 

Kay Xander Mellish’s book ‘How to Work in Denmark’ offers both job-searching advice and tips on how to succeed in the Danish workplace.