Parents in Denmark can receive benefits if children sent home due to coronavirus

The Danish government has agreed on a temporary right for parents to receive maternity benefits if their child is sent home due to the coronavirus.

Parents in Denmark can receive benefits if children sent home due to coronavirus
Illustration photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen / Ritzau Scanpix

The agreement is to help parents who will have to stay at home for a period of time while their children wait for a coronavirus test.

According to the agreement, the parents are entitled to compensation that is the level of maternity benefit. The scheme covers parents who have children up to and including 13 years old.

“We are looking into a period where we probably have to get used to the fact that there will be local flare ups of infection around which will lead to day care institutions or schools sending the children home.

“And there are some parents who do not have the opportunity to work from home, but who have to stay home and look after their children. That is why we have agreed on a scheme where we give parents access to maternity benefits”, says Minister of Employment Peter Hummelgaard.

Support is given to one parent per day the child is at home, the agreement states. According to DR Nyheder, a condition for receiving the compensation is that the child's parents don't have the opportunity to work from home, and that they have used up both their care days and their time off.

The agreement gives parents up to 10 days per child on the scheme. The scheme is expected to start on 1 October and will last for the rest of the year.

“We would have liked to have seen that there had been an opportunity to give something more. But the most important thing for us is that compensation is provided”, says Lizette Risgaard, chairman of the Danish Trade Union Confederation, at a press conference in the Ministry of Employment.

The union Djøf is also pleased with the agreement, says Sara Vergo, chairman of Djøf Public.

“I simply think that it is so gratifying that we have succeeded in landing an agreement, because this problem is huge for many families with children”, she says.

However Djøf would still like to see whether families with children can be put at the front of the queue for a coronavirus test. The union has previously proposed that a fast track scheme be set up for the youngest children.

“It is of course great that you can be at home and be compensated. But the faster you can get children tested, the faster people can get back to work. And it is also in the interest of society”, says Sara Vergo.

Due to the increasing infection rates with Covid-19, in some places you have to wait three or four days to be tested.

The National Board of Health recommends that children be tested if they have been sent home from their school or day care institution because there is a Covid-19 infection in that place.

The child should stay home until they have tested negative the first time. Children under 12 do not need to be tested as it can be uncomfortable for them.

Instead, the parent can choose to keep the child at home for seven days after the most recent close contact with the infected person.

If the child has not had symptoms during the seven days, the child can attend day care or school again, according to the Danish health authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen).



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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”