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New laws: Here’s what changes in Denmark in 2020

The Local Denmark
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New laws: Here’s what changes in Denmark in 2020
A view from inside the Danish parliament. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Several new rules and regulations came into effect in Denmark on January 1st, 2020.


The law changes impact a range of areas, from shopping bags to speed limits to taxation on nuts.

Read a summary of the key updates below.

Early pension for physically demanding jobs

A key issue for the governing Social Democrats, new pension rules now in effect enable people with long-term physical health issues resulting from their work to retire early. This could include builders with back injuries, lab assistants with joint problems in their hands or similar. Danish has a specific term for people coming to the end of careers in physically-demanding work: the nedslidte – literally ‘worn-down people’.

The new pension rules give people that fulfil set criteria the option of applying for a pension within six years of their standard retirement age. They must have worked full time for 20-25 years and now be restricted to a maximum of 15 hours’ work weekly due to their health condition.

No more tax on nuts

If you love the taste of almonds or peanuts but not their crunchy Danish price tag, you’ll welcome the rule change which, from January 1st, cuts duty on all types of nuts.

The decision to scrap the tax on nuts was originally made in 2017. Its gradual phasing-in is now complete, so the tax is gone from January 1st this year. This will result in reduced costs for manufacturers, with savings thereby passed on to consumers. A packet of almonds could cost 5 kroner less than its 2018 price, DR writes.

More expensive plastic carrier bags

The charge applied to plastic bags at supermarkets has been trebled from 22 kroner per kilogram to 66 kroner per kilogram. That means stores will now charge 4 kroner per plastic carrier bag.

Mandatory pension scheme for social security recipients

People who receive social security such as the basic form of support for unemployment (kontanthjælp) or unemployment insurance (dagpenge) will soon be able to see a contribution to their pensions from that income.

The contribution is 0.3 percent of income in 2020 and will increase annually until 2030, when it will reach 3.3 percent. The contribution will be paid by the state, so there will be no reduction in the monthly amount received.

READ ALSO: Working in Denmark? Here's what you need to know about pensions

New speed limit for trucks

The speed limit for trucks on Danish roads has been increased from 70 kilometres per hour to 80 kilometres per hour on roads in thinly populated areas and on two-lane expressways. Local authorities can still restrict speed limits in areas where they deem 80 km/h to be too fast, however.

The rules apply to trailers and caravans as well as to HGVs.

Rules on school absence streamlined

A single set of rules is now applied nationwide for registration of school attendance, with children registered at the beginning of the day as well as at the end of the day for seventh grade upwards. Head teachers are required to inform municipal authorities if a child has an unapproved absence rate of 15 percent or more (this rule has been in place since August).

Failure to meet minimum attendance can result in quarterly withdrawal of the social security payment for families with children, børnecheck.

Industrial accidents are now more easily recognized

Injuries sustained at work now have a more straightforward path to being recognized by authorities as industrial accidents. Parliament has passed a law which means that injuries which heal on their own and other accidents which don’t result in compensation can also be classed as industrial accidents. The change applies to cases from January 1st onward.

New rules for people looking for work

People receiving social security payments while out of work were required under old rules to check the website weekly for suggested jobs to which they could apply. That rule no longer exists.

Another rule change means that mandatory job applications are no longer required in the final six weeks of receiving benefits before starting a new job, going on parental leave, a fleksjob scheme, or certain pension types including the state pension.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Should I sign up with a Danish union and get unemployment insurance?

Cash for low income families

A new temporary measure has been introduced, designed to assist families whose income is close to the poverty line. The rule is temporary because a government-appointed commission is currently working on new recommendations on how social security can be structured in a way that protects children from poverty.

The temporary help can be given to families with children aged 0-14 who are encompassed by current rules limiting unemployment benefits (kontanthjælpsloftet) or the reduced social security for recently-arrived refugees and their families (integrationsydelsen).

It amounts to a tax-free payment of between 550-700 kroner monthly and has been estimated to encompass 14,300 families – or 27,900 children.

READ ALSO: Danish income figures show signs of falling inequality

Sources:Beskæftigelsesministeriet, Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet, Folketinget, Danske A-kasser, Jyllands-Posten, Arbejdsmiljø i Danmark, Miljøstyrelsen,, Coop, Plastindustrien, Ritzau.


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