Denmark announces new rules for working from home

New rules for people who work from home in Denmark have been announced following an agreement between a majority of political parties.

New rules announced by the Danish government adjust requirements for businesses to provide equipment for staff who use screens to work from home.
New rules announced by the Danish government adjust requirements for businesses to provide equipment for staff who use screens to work from home. Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The Danish Ministry of Employment announced the new rules in a statement on Monday afternoon after the government and centre-left ally the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) agreed on terms with the opposition Liberal (Venstre), Conservative and Danish People’s parties.

The new rules are particularly important for people who use a screen for working from home.

Employees of companies are allowed to use their own equipment to work from home provided the equipment fulfils certain standards.

If it does not meet the standards set out in the new agreement, employers are obliged to provide the necessary hardware.

Under the outgoing rules, that rule applies for employees who work from home once a week or more.

The new rules relax this, meaning the employer must only provide equipment for staff who work from home or at other fixed places of work at an average of more than two days per week over the course of a month.

The change in rules, expected to take effect at the end of April, allow more flexibility for people who work on their screens at several different locations, the ministry said in the statement.

“I am pleased that we have now found a political and balanced solution which gives both more flexibility and consideration to employees with varying places of work,” Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard said in the statement.

“We are now making the rules for home working more up-to-date so they reflect the labour market of today in which work for certain types of staff can be done at many different places and not just at the office,” he said.

A trade union which counts many office workers among its members slammed the decision to ease requirement on companies who have staff working from home.

“I am simply shaken,” Mads Samsing, the deputy leader of the trade union, HK, said to broadcaster DR.

“In practice, this is exclusively about employers wanting to get off cheaply by pushing their costs over to staff,” Samsing said.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) was more positive.

“We (now) have a sensible and balanced set of rules for home working. It’s a set of rules which is easy to understand,” the organisation’s deputy director Laurits Rønn said to DR.

Hummelgaard said in the ministry statement that the rules would be reviewed again next year.

READ ALSO: Can you take sick leave in Denmark if your child is ill?

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Danish businesses repeat call for foreign workers amid labour shortage

Local authorities and a major business interest organisation have urged Denmark’s government to address a labour shortage.

Danish businesses repeat call for foreign workers amid labour shortage

Unmet demand for labour in both private businesses and the public sector has reached a crisis point, according to an appeal to the government to reach a broader labour agreement. 

Parliament must renew its efforts to find a new national compromise which will secure more labour, the National Association of Municipalities (Kommunernes Landsforening, KL) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) said according to financial media Finans.

“The parties [in parliament] must be honest with voters and start a completely different and strict prioritisation of what the public sector can offer people,” mayor and KL chairperson Martin Damm told news wire Ritzau.

“Otherwise, the parties must find the labour needed for private companies to provide growth and wellbeing, and for us at municipalities to have the staff and economy to deliver the services people expect,” he said.

The municipalities will need 44,000 additional employees by 2030 due to increasing numbers of children and elderly in the population, according to KL.

Short the lack of labour persist, municipal governments could be forced to reduce the priority of services such as cleaning for elderly residents, according to Damm.

Danish businesses are finding it harder than ever to recruit staff and could hire 38,000 new workers immediately if they were available, according to DI, which represents the interests of about 19,000 Danish companies. 

Lars Sandahl Sørensen, managing director of DI, firmly believes the answer to the labour shortage lies outside Danish borders. 

“We will need many more foreigners,” Sørensen told Finans.

“It is not about getting cheap labour, but about getting people at all. We are in a situation where we do not have employees to carry out the things on green conversion that we have already decided to do, and that we would like to do on health and welfare,” he said.

Employment minister Peter Hummelgaard told Finans that the government agreed a deal on international recruitment shortly before the summer break.

READ MORE: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you aren’t an EU national?