Working in Denmark

What to do if you lose your job in Denmark

What to do if you lose your job in Denmark
Losing your job is hard, here's what you need to know. Photo: Colourbox
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.
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. 
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