Danish parliament passes new law for ‘earmarked’ parental leave

Denmark’s parliament on Thursday rubber-stamped a new law which reforms parental leave rules by guaranteeing each parent 11 weeks at home with their newborn child.

Two babies crawling
Denmark's new parental leave rules will take effect on August 2nd. Photo by Lingchor on Unsplash

The new law means that each parent gets 11 weeks of non-transferable parental leave after their child is born. One parent cannot transfer any of the ‘earmarked’ leave to the other, meaning if they do not use the full 11 weeks, they eventually lapse.

Although the new rules were agreed by parliamentary parties in the autumn, the final vote on the bill did not take place until Thursday. Its approval means the new rules come into force on August 2nd.

This also means Denmark meets the deadline for complying with an EU directive requiring member states earmark nine weeks of statutory parental leave for fathers.

Parents whose children are born on or after August 2nd will be covered by the new rules. For children born before that date, the old rules will apply.

“It is a very positive day for Denmark now that parental leave will be divided evenly between parents. That will benefit mums, dads and especially children,” employment minister Peter Hummelgaard said in a government statement.

New Danish rules meanwhile provide for more flexible arrangements for LGBT+ families. From January 1st 2024, families with same-sex parents will also be able to share parental leave. Single parents will be able to share leave with a close family member.

“Families come in many forms in the year 2022. That’s why I’m very pleased that we are improving the options of LGBT+ families and single parents for sharing parental leave. Laws should follow the times so everyone, regardless of family type, can make arrangements that suit their exact situation,” Hummelgaard said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s new parental leave rules explained

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‘One in two’ tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Visits by inspectors uncovered the practice of social dumping at over half of companies checked in Denmark last year, the Ministry of Tax said on Friday.

'One in two' tax inspections found social dumping at Danish companies

Inspections in 2022 at workplaces including restaurants, construction sites and agricultural and cleaning businesses turned up a large number of cases of social dumping.

Some 3,343 inspections were conducted during the year, scrutinising working environments and tax payments along with staff work and residence permits, the Danish Tax Agency (Skattestyrelsen) said.

Social dumping is defined by the EU as the practice whereby “workers are given pay and/or working and living conditions which are sub-standard compared to those specified by law or collective agreements in the relevant labour market, or otherwise prevalent there.”

This means that, in cases where the Danish authorities detected social dumping, foreign staff were working under poorer conditions than the law or relevant collective bargaining agreement provides for Danish nationals. This saves employers money because the labour costs them less.

The Tax Agency is responsible for checking Danish tax rules are properly complied with. As such, the checks by the Tax Agency checked tax aspects of potential social dumping breaches, with other authorities responsible for other areas.

The Tax Agency can detect social dumping by, for example, checking the amount of income tax or VAT (moms in Danish) paid at a company.

Companies were asked to regulate their tax payments at more than one in two inspections in 2022, according to the tax ministry.

“The new report from the Tax Agency clearly shows that there is an issue here and that the joint efforts from authorities are paying off,” Tax Minister Jeppe Bruus said in the statement.

Some 1.9 billion kroner has been raised by the state in tax demands made as a result of social dumping inspections since 2015.

Last year’s inspections enabled tax authorities to demand 317 million kroner, the highest figure since structured control of social dumping began in 2012. The prior year, 2021, saw demands for 311 million kroner issued as a result of the inspections.

“It’s crucial for the economy and cohesion in society that there is respect for the playing rules of the Danish labour market,” Bruus said.