Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Denmark
There are no statutory rules on the number of standard working hours in Denmark. As a general rule, working hours are mandated through a collective agreement (if any), or the employment contract. The majority of sectors have 37 hours weekly.
Usual working hours are Monday to Friday, from 8 or 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM. Lunch breaks are 30 minutes to 1 hour per day and usually are not included in the calculation of weekly working hours.
Over the course of four months, an average working week should not exceed 48 hours.
It is possible to opt-out of the maximum hours only if the collective agreement complies with the Working Time Directive.
Overtime pay depends on collective bargaining agreements (CBA). If there isn't one, then no statutory rule applies. Typically, the CBA overtime pay is 50% for the first 3 hours and 100% for subsequent hours. In some cases, employees can choose between receiving payment and having time off in lieu of payment.
If an employee works on a public holiday, they are entitled to receive a pay bonus of 100% of their average salary.
The regulation on Sunday work varies between industries and the collective bargaining agreement in place, but usually, employees are compensated between 50 to 100% of their daily pay.
If a collective bargaining agreement does not cover the employees, no other legislation regulates it.
Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours for every 24 hours and at least one day rest per week.
No more than six workdays are allowed between two rest days.
A night worker cannot work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period on average over four months.
Time Tracking Obligations in Denmark
Only a few sectors have regulations on time tracking, such as oil and gas industries. Some companies have time-reporting systems in place not to ensure staff turns up on time, but to manage the working hours and ease the process of paying out salaries.
On May 14 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) created a law that requires employers in every EU member country to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system to time track employees' working hours. The implementation of such systems and the form they take is up to the member states to determine. The objective is to control how many employees work overtime and the state of their health, and to make sure they are paid accordingly, while not exceeding the maximum hours worked.
This, in most cases, won't be an issue in Denmark.
The employer may leave the time-tracking to the employee. However, if an employer notices that this does not work, steps must be taken to intervene.
Time tracking can lead to hefty fines and even prison (this would require extensive abuse) in cases of employer abuse, where employers do not comply with the requirements in the Danish Working Environment Act.
As for the new ECJ ruling, it remains to be seen whether further and stricter sanctions will be imposed in future if a working time recording system is not introduced.