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WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in August 2022?

New parental leave rules come into force, schools return and summer flight disruption are among changes and events coming to Denmark this autumn.

‘Earmarking’ parental leave laws take effect

New Danish parental leave rules, ratified last year to bring the country into line with EU directives, take effect in August.

After the EU in 2019 passed a directive which required member states to ensure a minimum of nine weeks’ “earmarked” parental leave for each parent by 2022, discussions in 2021 between the government and labour market representatives resulted in an agreement over new rules, which was passed by parliament towards the end of last year.

The parental leave is called “earmarked” (øremærket in Danish) because the two parents cannot transfer the leave from one to another, which would allow one parent to take all or nearly all of the statutory parental leave.

Under the outgoing system, 32 weeks of parental leave (forældreorlov) could be distributed between parents as much or either sees fit and can be taken concurrently or consecutively.

The new rules tag more of the statutory parental leave to each parent, with 24 weeks of leave granted per parent following the birth of a child, with a total of 11 weeks “earmarked” for each parent.

The mother has a right to four weeks’ pregnancy leave prior to giving birth and both parents can take two weeks’ parental leave immediately after the birth.

That leaves a remaining earmarked 9 weeks, which can be taken at any time withing the first year after birth but are tagged to each parent, as are the initial 2 post-birth weeks. If one parent does not use all of their 11 weeks, those weeks lapse.

We have full detail on the new rules in this article.

Kids return to school after summer holidays

The school summer holidays, which often coincide with the dates on which parents place their annual leave, are about to come to an end.

Most municipal childcare institutions (like vuggestue and børnehave) reopen on August 1st, as do childcare facilities for school-age children like skolernes fritidsordning, SFO.

The first school day after the summer holidays is Monday August 8th in most of the country, but it’s worth checking with local authorities if you’re in doubt. All municipalities post the school term dates on their websites – see Odense Municipality’s website here for an example.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about vacation in Denmark 

Festival season isn’t over yet

The return of Roskilde has successfully been and gone and the 2022 Tour de France will probably pass into Danish folklore, but it’s not all done and dusted for those who enjoy the summer vibe of music festivals and major sporting events.

August music festivals include the chillout vibes of the electronic festival Stella Polaris and the more upbeat Strøm Festival in Copenhagen.

Those with Tour de France withdrawal can bask in the Postnord Denmark Tour, the country’s traditional pro cycling race which takes in some of the locations spotted on this year’s Grand Depart.

End of negative interest rates at banks

Several Danish banks and mortgage providers announced in July that they would be increasing their interest rates.

In some cases, this means the end of negative interest rates that have seen many Danish bank customers pay to have their savings deposited with a bank.

Broadcaster TV2 lists Nykredit, Arbejdernes Landsbank, Vestjysk Bank, Lån & Spar, Saxo Bank, Stadil Sparekasse, Frørup Andelskasse, Facit Bank, Basis Bank, Bank Norwegian, Santander Consumer Bank and Lunar as banks without negative interest rates. The list is accurate from August 1st, from when Vestjysk and Lån & Spar announced they will scrap negative interest rates.

Meanwhile, Jyske Bank, Danske Bank, Nordea, Sydbank, Sparekassen Danmark and Spar Nord will all have higher interest rates effective in August (which first took effect in July in some cases), although the rates are still negative.

Since 2021, many major banks in Denmark have charged negative interest on personal accounts with a balance of more than 100,000 kroner. The policy has been a source of consternation to foreigners in Denmark, driving them (and their savings) to smaller banks that have a higher cap. 

READ ALSO: Denmark’s banks raise interest rates but many still remain negative

15,000 European flights cancelled in August

For those who have not yet been on their summer vacation, travel plans could be affected by a large number of flight cancellations for services in the coming month.

Airlines in July cancelled a further 15,000 flights in Europe this August as they continue to struggle with staff shortages and strikes, according to data.

The data, from flight airline analysis firm Citrium, show that airlines have cancelled 25,378 flights from their August schedules, of which 15,788 are in Europe.

Airlines across Europe have been struggling with staff shortages, with passengers reporting long queues at airports.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in December 2022?

The wait for a government could be over, reduced Christmas holidays and brighter days on the way: here are some key things to look out for this December in Denmark.

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in December 2022?

A new government could take over

Since the election on November 1st, the leader of the largest party, the Social Democrats, acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has been locked in negotiations with other parties to form a new government.

Frederiksen intends to form a coalition across the centre with parties from traditionally-opposed ‘blue bloc’ or conservative parties. She said before the election that she would pursue such a government and stuck to her stance after the left-leaning ‘red bloc’ took a one-seat majority in the election.

READ ALSO: Could a centrist government change Danish asylum plan?

Talks have become protracted, but there has been some forward movement. The number of parties involved in the negotiations has been whittled down from 12 to 7 with the most likely blue bloc partner in a coalition, the Liberals (Venstre), seeming to soften its stance on governing with Frederiksen’s Social Democrats.

Putting a government in place will enable legislation to be passed in parliament again – crucial for pressing matters like passing a 2023 budget and resolving cash help for low-income families.

Britons who have been told to leave Denmark because they were late applicants for post-Brexit residency permits will hope that a new government will step in and assist them. The government has the authority to intervene in decisions made by authorities but currently will not, because it is in a caretaker role.

You can read about this particular issue, which affects Britons whose residency in Denmark was protected under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, in this article.

Christmas is coming… but with a little less glimmer

The first Sunday in Advent has already passed, falling on November 27th this year. That means Copenhagen’s Christmas are already switched on, albeit two weeks later than in 2021. Due to the energy crisis, the lights will be switched on between 3pm and 9pm rather than the usual 7am until midnight.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen to retain but reduce Christmas lights amid energy crisis

In Aarhus, the Christmas lights have been on since November 11th but the lights are only switched on for seven hours a day, compared to 16 hours in previous years.

Odense’s lights have been on since 19th November, also for fewer hours than usual.

Salling Group’s shopping centres in Aalborg and Aarhus will not be putting up their usual Christmas light decorations, and the same decision has been made by Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen.

Middelfart, Esbjerg, Aarhus and other cities have decided against opening their traditional outdoor ice rinks this winter as a result of high energy prices.

Christmas markets (julemarkeder), complete with the winter-warm alcoholic drink gløgg, will all be going ahead after some Covid-related cancellations in the last two years. Many open at the end of November. Tivoli’s Christmas season is already underway.

When do I get time off work or school for Christmas?

December 25th (Christmas), December 26th (Boxing Day) and January 1st (New Year’s Day) are all public holidays. They all fell on Saturday or Sunday in 2021, denying three extra festive days off which might otherwise have been enjoyed. No substitute day is given when public holidays fall on a weekend.

The Christmas Day and New Year holidays again fall during weekends this year, though Boxing Day is a Monday, so one public holiday has been regained compared to last year.

December 24th (Christmas Eve) and December 31st (New Year’s Eve) are not public holidays, but many employers treat them as such. Unfortunately, these are Saturdays in 2022, so will not be an ‘extra’ day off for most people.

State schools (folkeskoler) generally finish for the Christmas holidays on Wednesday December 21st (so the first day of the holidays is Thursday 22nd) and return on January 3rd.

Private schools may have slightly different dates and there may also be local variations for state schools, so check with your school or local municipality if in doubt. Here’s the calendar for Copenhagen Municipality.

Be sure to send presents on time

If you are sending cards or presents to loved ones abroad or in Denmark, remember to get them packaged and sent on time so Santa can deliver them before Christmas.

Generally, the deadline for sending parcels is December 21st for delivery in Denmark, December 16th for Europe and December 2nd for the rest of the world.

You can check the details in this article.

Brighter days are on the way

It’s now dark well into the morning and only light until mid-afternoon, but the shortest day of the year falls in December. After that, days will slowly get longer again and nights shorter.

The winter solstice, when the Earth tilts the furthest away from the Sun on its axis, occurs on December 21st.

Denmark’s dark winters aren’t as severe as in Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway, which both experience polar nights – when the sun doesn’t rise at all for several weeks.

READ ALSO: Brighter days are on the way in Denmark after winter solstice

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