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LIFE IN DENMARK

EXPLAINED: Denmark’s ‘frozen’ holiday pay: how does it work and what are the problems with payouts?

People who are employed in Denmark can look forward to a windfall in October this year when so-called ‘frozen holiday money’ can be paid out.

EXPLAINED: Denmark’s 'frozen' holiday pay: how does it work and what are the problems with payouts?
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The payments were approved earlier this year as part of a larger government economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus crisis.

‘Holiday money' or feriepenge is a monthly contribution paid out of your salary into a special fund, depending on how much you earn.

You can claim back the money once per year, provided you actually take holiday from work.

If you are employed in Denmark, you will be notified when the money can be paid out (this is in May under normal circumstances) and directed to the borger.dk website, from where you claim it back from national administrator Udbetaling Danmark.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to understand your Danish payslip

A new version of the Danish Holiday Act (Ferieloven) comes fully into effect on September 1st, implementing a change in the way the money is earned and used and specifically the dates around which the earning period is set.

As such, the calendar year will no longer applies for earning holiday – instead, wage earners accrue vacation time in the period September 1st — August 31st.

 

The result of this is that a certain amount of money from an overlapping period of accrual would not be paid out. When the Holiday Act was renewed, the intention was that this money would be ‘frozen’ and paid out when you leave the Danish labour market, for example on retirement.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about vacation in Denmark – and how the rules are about to change

That was changed in 2020 after the coronavirus lockdown and its resultant economic impact encouraged parliament to pass provisions for the ‘frozen’ holiday money to be paid out as soon as October.

But administrative issues reported this week mean that many may receive incorrect amounts.

That is because many employers are yet to report the correct amounts to Udbetaling Danmark, news agency Ritzau reports.

 

When employers do not report holiday money earnings by deadlines, the payouts are calculated based on earnings alone, but this can result in errors.

That is because the tax register does not take into account other factors – such as holiday or pension deposits – which are included in the calculation.

For example, when someone is on holiday they do not earn holiday money, but the tax register cannot see this. Resultantly, too much may be paid out.

But pension contributions are deducted by the tax system, even though these are eligible for holiday money. It is therefore also possible to receive less than the correct amount of ‘frozen’ holiday money.

Companies will report the correct amounts of holiday money by the end of 2020, Ritzau reports. That is because reporting now would require an overhaul of the registration system, according to the Confederation of Danish Employers (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening).

In a measure intended to mitigate potential incorrect payments, parliament has now decided to withhold the final two weeks of accrued holiday money from the October 2020 payouts, according to a Jyllands-Posten report.

A decision on when to release the final two weeks for payment will be made following negotiations later this year.

It will also be possible for wage earners to choose not to receive the frozen holiday money in October and instead postpone the payment to a later time.

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WEATHER

Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and autumn, spring and summer)

Winter in Denmark is a shock to the system, particularly for those of us who come from warmer, drier climes. But if you know where to look, you can find the right rain gear to keep the Danish drops off your head.

Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be
Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be "træls" (bothersome) if you're kitted out in the right water resistant gear. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

This roundup is unsponsored and the fruits of much googling, review-reading, and recommendation-begging by a sad, damp American.

Where to shop? 

To try things on, the best places are Intersport, Spejder Sport (home to Columbia, Patagonia, Asivik and FjällRaven) and Eventyr Sport, as well as outdoor outfitter Friluftsland.  

To shop the Danish way, put in the hours combing the racks at your local second hand or charity shop. If you strike out there, search by brand on DBA.dk or Facebook marketplace.

Rain jackets: Regnjakker

Your rain jacket is your second skin in Denmark during the damp winter months. Helly Hansen is a go-to brand, according to a Johannes, a Jutland native who offered his recommendation to The Local. The Norwegian company offers well-made jackets at a reasonable price point, ranging between 600 and about 1,500 kroner. These can be ordered direct from the manufacturer or on Amazon.de (the German one) for delivery in Denmark—if you want to try before you buy, go to Eventyr Sport.  

A budget pick is McKinley, which you can pick up at Intersport. These cost between 200-400 kroner.

The classic Scandinavian splurge rain jacket is Fjällräven—these are available in stand-alone Fjällräven stores, Friluftsland, Eventyr, and Spejder Sport, and cost a not-unsubstantial percentage of your rent starting at about 2,500 kroner and climbing north of 6,000 kroner.

Rain pants: regnbukser

Rain pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bike cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers you’ll understand the appeal.

The New York Times’ product review service Wirecutter highlights the Marmot PreCip Eco Pant as the best pick—here in Denmark, they’re available for men and women at outdoor gear purveyor Friluftsland for about 700-800 kroner.

McKinley also makes rain pants that will set you back around 200 kroner.  

Some of Patagonia’s rain pants, which we found at Spejder Sport, have side zippers for ventilation—if you’re on the sweatier side, this may be a good call. (Their website also proudly reports these rainpants roll up to the “size of a corncob.”)

Rain sets: regnsæt

Also on the market are rain sets, which are coordinating jacket-pant combos like this one from Asivik. It’s cheaper to buy the set rather than both pieces separately, but for many people it makes more sense to invest in a higher-quality rain jacket and go for a more affordable rain pant.

Backpack rain covers: regnslag til rygsæk

Backpack rain covers are an easy buy and cost orders of magnitude less than the laptops and other electronics they protect. Snag one on the way out the door at Intersport, Spejder Sport, or most anywhere that sells rain gear. Expect to pay about 60-180 kroner—just make sure it fits your backpack.

Gloves: Handsker

Your favourite fluffy mittens may not be well suited for your bike commute. GripGrab, a Danish company popular all over the world, offers a variety of waterproof and winterproof gloves— including the lobster style, which has split fingers that allow you the dexterity to ring your bell, pull your hand break and do a Spock impression at a moment’s notice. These are available at specialty cycling stores.

Rain boots: Gummistøvler

Perfectly serviceable budget rainboots are available at the same retail stores discussed above—though for longevity, look for boots made from rubber rather than PVC.

At a higher price point, Hunter rainboots are sold by Danish online retail giant Zalando and keep you dry and in style.

Tretorn is a Swedish brand over a hundred years old—their rain boots are available for both men and women through Spejder Sport and, of course, their website.

For women: available on the German Amazon website is the Asgard Women’s Short Rain Waterproof Chelsea Boot, one of the best reviewed women’s rain boots that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing clown shoes.

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