Work-life balance

Denmark flagFamily is very important to Danes and therefore balancing work and domestic life is not too complex. A normal working week is from Monday to Friday and office hours are usually between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Women work an average of 35 hours a week compared to 41 hours a week for men. As the family life of employees is generally respected by Danish employers, it is not uncommon for many Danish workplaces to give you the opportunity to adjust your working hours based on your family’s needs. It is quite usual for Danes to live relatively close to their place of work which means that less time is spent on commuting.

Most workers hurry home after finishing work on time and family members normally gather together for supper. This is why business negotiations tend to take place at lunch instead of dinner although long business lunches are uncommon. Danes value their spare time highly which means that when they work, they work intensively but leave quite early to go home. Business people should not routinely expect to meet with their Danish counterparts after 4 p.m. on weekdays. Do not plan meetings for Saturdays, Sundays, or on national holidays. Not all Danes appreciate breakfast meetings, which should only be scheduled with due consideration to the particular situation. People in higher positions often have the opportunity to work flexible hours and suit their working hours to their other needs. Danes also have the right to five weeks’ holiday a year, of which three weeks can always be taken consecutively during the school summer vacation period.

Children are prioritized in Danish society and they are given space. Danes raise their kids in a way that puts an emphasis on such things as participation in decision-making and dialogue. All small children aged 0-6 in Denmark are offered day care, either in a Kindergarden or in a private home.

The Danish work environment reflects many aspects within Danish culture such as equality and tolerance. There is a tradition for delegating responsibility, allowing employees to participate in decision- making and investing in their further education and competence development. The well-developed welfare system enables women to participate fully in the labour market. Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the world with regard to gender equality within the work place and it has the greatest percentage of women working outside the home in comparison to other European countries. The participation rate of women is therefore high and many women (around 19%) hold top positions in Danish companies.

National holidays

Mandatory vacation is five weeks and up to five more days per year plus local holidays. At least three weeks are taken during the summer. School summer vacation is from about June 20th to about August 8th, and generally, business is slow during that period as many executives are out of the office. Some companies close completely. It is not advisable to schedule business meetings or other business activities in Denmark from late June to early August, from December 20th – January 5th, or during Easter week.

Working hours

A normal working week runs from Monday to Friday and office hours are usually between 8 a.m. or 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Women work an average of 35 hours a week compared to 41 hours a week worked by men. However, 9 percent of the Danish workforce works more than 49 hours a week. Working overtime is often compensated by time off in lieu.

There is no legislation regulating working hours in the private sector, but individual contracts and collective labour agreements take care of settling working hours. An employee should not be made to work in excess of an average of 48 hours a week over the course of a 4 month period, following the EU Working Time directive.

Danish lunch breaks are often just 30 minutes long and instead of going home you would usually have lunch with your colleagues. Many bigger companies have canteen facilities, while in other places you have either to bring your own lunch or buy take away food.

Health insurance

In the case of emergency or where urgent help is required, you should dial 112. Hospital assitance is available and accessible for everyone staying in Denmark in the case of emergencies, accidents and the sudden worsenings of illnesses. Although emergency medical treatment is free of charge, the patient will be  charged for follow-up care. Therefore, it is advisable to have travel insurance to cover any extra costs.

The nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) who are covered by the public health insurance of that country will be similarly covered by public health insurance when they move to Denmark. If you move from a non-Nordic country which is not a member of the EC/EAA you will normally have a six week quarantine period before having access to public health services.

Denmark has a state-run health system. Financing, planning and management are the responsibility of the authorities. The services are financed through income tax and there is only one legal state-run health insurance. If you are domiciled in Denmark and you are paying taxes, you will also be insured in Denmark. No separate health insurance fees have to be paid. The public health care service (health insurance) covers hospitalization and medical consultations and also subsidizes medicines and a range of treatments.

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