Entitled to more holiday? Get to know the rules for the extra holiday entitlements

In Denmark, vacation days off (also called 6th holiday week) are not a right for all employees. It is a benefit that the employer and employee can agree on, or it is regulated according to a collective agreement or the company’s personnel policy. Therefore the rules for taking vacation days off may vary from company to company.

What is the 6th holiday week / extra holiday entitlements?

6th holiday week or extra holiday entitlements. The two terms are used interchangeably, but cover the same phenomenon: that as an employee you can be granted more paid holiday days than the 5 weeks you are entitled to according to the Holidays Act. But even though it is referred to as “6. holiday week”, it is not a rule that the number of annual holiday days must be 5. You can easily have just 2 extra vacation days a year, but most often it is a whole week, hence the name.

Who is entitled to the extra vacation days?

It is the collective agreements or the individual contracts or agreements with the employer that determine whether the employee is entitled to extra paid days off and how many days the employees may be allocated, how the days are earned and when they must be taken.

As both employee and employer, you should therefore be aware of the documents on the employee’s terms of employment in order to gain clarity about the specific rules for the right to the extra paid days off. Alternatively, you can contact the HR department in the company to get an answer.

Different rules in different sectors

There are different rules about vacation days off or the 6th holiday week, depending on whether you are a public or private employee in Denmark. If you work within the public sector, e.g. state, municipality or region, you have the right to vacation days off, while as a private employee you are basically not entitled to the 6th week of holiday, unless otherwise agreed.

Rules for public employees

If you are employed full-time in a region or municipality, you are entitled to a 6th week of holiday, but you earn it in hours instead of days. You earn 3,083 vacation hours per month, which corresponds to 6 weeks of holiday per year. The hours for the 6th holiday are earned from 1 January to 31 December, but they can only be taken from 1 May of the following year.

If you do not take the 6th holiday week, you can choose to let it carry over to the next holiday year. This happens automatically, unless you inform your employer before 1st of October of the holiday year that you want payment instead. If you change position to another region or municipality, you can agree with your employer that the accrued vacation days off are transferred to the new position. Otherwise, the remaining hours from the 6th holiday week will be paid together with the last salary payment.

Rules for government employees

As a government employee, you earn 0.42 so-called “special vacation days” for each month of employment. This corresponds to 5 holiday days off per year. If you do not take your accrued vacation days off, you will be paid 2.5% of your holiday-entitled salary in the accrual year. You can also, by agreement with your employer, transfer the vacation days off to the following holiday year. If you resign as a government employee, you will be reimbursed for the accrued holiday days when you resign.

Rules for private employees

As a private employee, you are basically not entitled to the 6th week of holiday. However, you may still be entitled to holiday days off if the company has a collective agreement that gives you the right to it, or if you have entered into an individual agreement with your employer. The provisions for your right to holiday days off will then be described in the employment contract, the company’s personnel handbook or a possible collective agreement.

When should you take your extra vacation days?

If you are entitled to holiday days off, you can decide when the days are to be held, but it is always a good idea to tell your employer well in advance, so that you can organize the work afterwards. Your employer can reject your request if it makes it difficult to get the work done.

However, you are entitled to take the holidays before the end of the holiday year. If your holiday days are not taken, the remaining holiday days can be transferred to the subsequent holiday period or be paid out, as previously described, if agreed with your employer. In addition, you must be aware that you must take other holidays before you take the holiday days off.

According to the Holiday Act, as an employee and covered by the Holiday Act, you must take the holiday in the order in which it is earned. This means, for example, that you must take a carried-over holiday before another holiday, cf. §§ 21 and 22. The order of when you must take the different types of holiday is as follows:

  • Vacation days transferred from previous holiday period
  • Holiday from the current holiday year
  • Vacation days off
  • Holiday in advance

Depending on your collective agreement or the local agreements under which you are employed, there may be some special rules and conditions regarding holiday order that you should find out about. For example, 6th holiday week (if you have one) and holidays or similar may have a specific expiry date which may affect the order. In those cases, care should be taken to take the type of holiday that expires first, so that nothing is wasted.

Keep track of the days off

There are several rules you should be aware of in connection with holidays. If you are interested in learning more about them, you can dive into our various blog posts, which specifically focus on the many conditions linked to holding a holiday:

You are also more than welcome to contact us for a demo of the system where you can learn more about and how Intempus Time Registration can ease your working day, create a better overview and save you a lot of time and trouble:

Sources:  ida.dkdjoef.dk.

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