The Danish parliament has enacted a new holiday law. The reason for this new law is, among other things, that the EU-Commission have assessed that the current Danish holiday law is fundamentally against the regulations of the EU-court, as all employees according to the EU rules should have the right to four weeks paid vacation per year. The current Danish rules of staggered holiday (slightly offset), means that today a new member of the labor market would have to wait up to 16 months before they can take any paid holiday. A holiday-law committee was therefore asked to come up with their suggestions for a new holiday law, which should meet the international obligations that Denmark has. These suggestions act as the base of the new holiday law.
The new holiday law introduces the possibility that new members of the labor market in the future will be able to take paid holiday within the first year of their employment.
The current holiday rules
Today in Denmark we have staggered (slightly offset) holiday. This means that the employed person earns paid holiday per calendar year 1. January to 31. December, but the paid holiday cannot be taken before May 1 st of the next year. As a result of this, up to 16 months can pass from the time the holiday is earned to the time the paid holiday can be taken. Days is earned in this period.
The new holiday rules
With the new holiday law, the employed person will earn and take his/her holiday at the same time in a 12-month period (The holiday year). This means that the holiday earned in February can be taken as soon as March the same year. The employed person will however, have the opportunity to take the earned vacation for an additional 4 months which means that he/she will have 16 months to take the earned holiday (Holiday period). This gives the individual employed person a higher flexibility to take their holiday.
Going forward there will still be two types of holiday payment. Holiday with pay and holiday supplement and holiday with holiday-compensation.
For all employed persons the new holiday law will introduce the element that holiday is earned continuously during the holiday year which runs from September 1 st to August 31. The next year (12 months). With the new holiday law, the employed person will earn 2,08 days per month – exactly as they do today – and exactly as before they will not earn the right to paid holiday for periods where their employer does not pay them any salary.
The earned holiday can be taken during the “holiday period” which runs from September 1 st to December 31. The next year (16 months). Part of the period where the employees can take their earned holiday is therefore coincident with the earning period – but it is 4 months longer. This makes the holiday planning more flexible.
What does the new law mean to the employer?
The new holiday law keeps some of the rules and principles we know from the current holiday law. But apart from the introduction of Same-Time-Holiday it changes some of the ways that the employer handles the holiday. Here below you can find a list of which rules that remain unchanged and which that have been changed:
The new holiday law still provides the opportunity to either give holiday with pay and holiday-supplement or give holiday-compensation (Payment through Holiday account (Feriekonto) or by using a holiday-card-agreement. The calculation of the holiday-supplement and the holiday-compensation will not be changed with the new law.
With the new law the employer will now be able to extract a holiday-card-agreement, agreed upon in a collective agreement, to all employees in the same company regardless of the employee’s organization situation. Thereby the employer can avoid having to handling the holiday payment in various ways.
Today the holiday-supplement should, at the latest, be paid together with the first holiday taken, but in praxis the holiday-supplement is normally paid once a year together with the payroll for April or May. Going forward the holiday-supplement should be paid twice a year in May and in August or together with any taken holiday.
Holiday is still taken as 5 days a week and as whole days as a rule. Start- and end date of the holiday is not changed either and the rules about summer holiday and other holiday also still applies.
The new law does not change the deadlines for notification of the summer holiday and other holiday, but the deadlines can no longer be set aside in general by making a contract; they can only be set aside in the individual concrete situation.
The employer and the employee can agree that the employee can take holiday in advance. Holiday taken in advance is afterwards paid off as it is earned. If the employee is terminated, before the holiday taken in advance have been paid off, the employer can only setoff the balance in their favor in the owed payroll to the same employee.
Further the new term “Foundation-holidays” is introduced, from this foundation new employed persons can get their holiday earned in 2019 paid out. The payment for these max. 8,3 holidays will be paid out by applying for it, and this payment will afterwards be deducted from the payment the employed person where to received when they leave the labor marked to retire.
Another new rule is that holiday which has not be taken as the result of holiday-hindrance will automatically be transferred to the next holiday period.
If your work hours/work load is changed from the time the holiday is earned to the time where the holiday can be taken
The current rules demand that it, as a rule, is the salary at the time of taking the holiday (Not the earning time) which should be paid to the employee when any holiday is taken. The exception is however the holiday laws §23 section 3 which states that the salary should be adjusted in case the work hours/work load is changed by more than 20% at the time of taking the holiday compared to the work hours/Work load in the earning period.
It is important to note that it is the change in the work hours/work load alone that is taken into consideration when determining if three would have to be a proportional adjustment of the salary at the time of taking the holiday. Any salary increase or salary deduction will because of this not be taken into consideration.
This 20% rule will disappear when the new holiday law is carried out. Instead it is now evident that if the work hours or the work load, which would require a new contract, is changed, the employee is entitled to pay during the holiday which matched the work hours and work load at the holiday-earning time. In these events the current salary should always be adjusted when it is paid as holiday pay.
The labor marked and collective agreements
The new holiday law will not become effective until September 1 st 2020, however the transition agreement will become effective on September 1 st 2019 (See more below). This gives the parties of the labor market time to adjust the collective agreements to fit the new rules. At the same time, it gives time to go through and negotiate new local agreements as well as adjusting any individual employment contracts in the extend needed.
In this connection it should also be determined to which extend general and/or local agreements about extra holidays and care days etc. should be amended to fit the new holiday rules. At Visma we are excited to follow the dialog and the collective agreements negotiations including the progress on the labor market in general as the decisions made will have a great impact on many of our customers. Also, because the decisions made will affect the functionalities that our payroll solutions will have to handle.
The transition agreement
As mentioned above, a transition agreement will be introduced because of the new holiday law. The idea behind the transition agreement is to make the transition from staggered-holiday (slightly offset) to same-time-holiday as easy as possible, avoid double coverage and to show regard for the companies.
The transition agreement involves that holiday earned from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020 will be “frozen” and not be paid out to the employed person before they leave the labor market to retire.
To ensure the purpose of the transition agreement a special trust fund will be setup within “Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond” (The employed persons high priced foundation) who will handle the transition agreement. “Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond” (The employed persons high priced foundation) writes the following about the transition agreement:
At the time of the transition to the new holiday law every employed person will get holiday pay for up to 25 days frozen in a fund within “Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond”. The frozen holiday means will be paid back with interest, as well as any other pension saving and will be paid out when the employed person leaves the labor market to retire.
An economical transition
By freezing the holiday funds, the transition is made easier for the employers. With the new holiday law, the employed person will get the opportunity to take holiday as soon as it is earned. This simultaneity between earning and taking holiday can challenge the employer’s economy.
At the same time, it would not be appropriate for the employer’s if the employed person would be able to take double holiday in the transition year from the current holiday law to the new. To avoid having the employer’s pay out the already earned holiday and the new earned holiday within the same year, everyone will get their already earned holiday frozen in a fund.
The employed person already earned holiday means will of course stay the employed persons own money. Every individual employed person will get an account in the new holiday fund within ”Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond” and it is this fund which needs to keep track of the employed persons money.
For every employee, all employers will have to calculate and report the holidays and holiday pay which have been earned in the time from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020. The holiday pay is calculated as 12,5% of the salary at the time of earning the holiday. This information should be reported to the fund on 31 December 2020 at the latest. If the information has already been reported to the holiday account (FerieKonto) or another private holiday fund it will however be holiday account (FerieKonto) or the private fund who will report the information to the fund.
In the events where the holiday pay has already been transferred to holiday account or another private fund, holiday account or the other private fund will transfer the money to ”Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond”. If the money has not been transferred to holiday account or another private fund the employer can choose to keep the frozen holiday means instead of transferring them to ”Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond”. If the employer should choose to keep the holiday means, they can at any time choose to voluntarily transfer the holiday means for one or more employees (including indexation) to ”Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond”. Should the employer choose to keep the holiday means, they will at the due date receive a request from ”Lønmodtagerens dyrtidsfond” asking them to transfer the holiday means to the fund.
As an employer you will get the opportunity to keep the frozen holiday means, which is why you should consider both advantages and disadvantages of settling the frozen holiday means to the fund by the end of 2020 or on the other side keeping the holiday means – or part of these – within the company as long as possible. Another possibility is to settle the holiday means by instalments, where you would pay the holiday means into the fund in smaller portions over a period of several years.