You can receive sickness benefit if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. In general, you must live in Denmark and pay income tax there to qualify. However, there may be exceptions if, for example, you live in another EU country or move either within the EU or to a country with which Denmark has a separate agreement.
Are you entitled to Danish sickness benefit?
As a general rule, if you live in another Nordic country and work in Denmark, the Danish rules will apply to you as long as no more than 25% of your work takes place in the country where you live. Otherwise, the rules of the country where you are living will apply.
As a rule, if you live in Denmark and work in another Nordic country, the Danish rules will apply if over 25% of your work takes place in Denmark. Otherwise, the rules of the country where you are working will apply.
If you are unsure whether you are covered by the Danish rules, contact Udbetaling Danmark.
To have the right to sickness benefit you must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- You are in employment and have worked for at least 240 hours within the last six whole months before your first day of sick leave. You have worked for at least 40 hours in at least five of those months.
- If you were not ill, you would have the right to unemployment benefit or temporary labour market allowance.
- You have completed vocational training lasting at least 18 months during the last month.
- You are on a paid internship as part of a study programme that complies with the appropriate legislation.
- You are employed in a flexi-job.
You can read more at borger.dk.
You can read the rules for self-employed people and co-working spouses at borger.dk.
If you are unemployed you may have the right to sickness benefit if you meet one of the following conditions:
- If you were not ill, you would have had the right to unemployment benefit
- If you were not ill, you would have had the right to a labour market allowance.
You have completed vocational training lasting at least 18 months during the last month.
You can read more at borger.dk.
As a student, you do not generally have the right to sickness benefit unless you have earned the right through working.
If you receive a Danish study grant (SU) for a higher education programme, you can apply for a supplement to your monthly student grant (SU-klip).
If you receive a grant from another Nordic country, you should contact the agency responsible for paying it for further information.
How do you apply for sickness benefit?
The following applies to employees. If you are self-employed or unemployed, you can read more at borger.dk.
Unless otherwise specified by your employer in a staff notice or the like, you must notify the employer that you are ill as soon as possible and no later than two hours after you were due to start work.
If you are absent from work due to illness, your sickness benefit is paid by your employer and/or the local authority.
If you do not receive full pay from your employer when ill, then the employer must pay you sickness benefit for the first 30 calendar days. However, this only applies if you have worked for the employer for a certain period of time. You can read more about this at borger.dk.
If you do not have the right to either full pay or sickness benefit from your employer, you can apply for sickness benefit from your local authority.
If you are an employee, you can generally receive sickness benefit for a maximum of 22 weeks within a nine-month period. Before the end of the 22 weeks, the municipality will reassess your situation and decide whether it is possible to extend your sickness benefit period.
You can read more about the conditions at borger.dk.
Within the first four weeks of your absence due to illness, your employer must invite you to a formal interview to work out how and when you can return to work. If you have a long-term illness, it may be possible for you to return to work on reduced hours at first, for example, or to do work appropriate to your condition.
If your illness is expected to last more than eight weeks, you are required to participate in a follow-up programme with your local authority.
If the local authority decides not to extend your sickness benefit after 22 weeks, but you are still unfit for work, you will be transferred to a job assessment process (jobafklaringsforløb). During the job assessment process, you will receive a resource allowance (ressourceforløbsydelse) irrespective of your financial status or whether you have a spouse/cohabiting partner. The process lasts up to two years, but the local authority may decide to sign you up for another one if you are still not fit for work.
If you are partially incapacitated, you can receive reduced sickness benefit. In order to qualify for this, a doctor must assess that you can only work partially or that you need outpatient treatment.
At any point whilst receiving sickness benefit, you may return to work on reduced hours. You will be paid by your employer for the hours that you work and receive sickness benefit for the hours that you are absent due to illness.
You must be absent from work for at least four hours per week in order to receive sickness benefit.
If your illness is so serious that it is not possible or practical for you to engage with the programmes run by your local authority, you are not required to attend formal interviews or return-to-work programmes.
This will be the case, for example, if you are diagnosed with cancer or have severe heart problems. This exemption is called the stand-by scheme.
If you think that you should be exempt, you must state this on the information sheet or contact your local authority.
You can lose your right to sickness benefit
You can lose your right to sickness benefit:
- If you refuse to co-operate with your case being presented to the clinical department of your regional authority after refusing treatment by a doctor
- If you delay your own recovery
- If you fail to engage with follow-up procedures or other schemes run by your local authority
- If you fail to fulfil your duty to report or document your absence due to illness.
What if you have a long-term or chronic illness?
If you have a significantly increased risk of absence due to a long-term or chronic illness, your employer may be reimbursed for sickness benefit from your first day of absence. In such cases, you and your employer must enter into a special agreement with the local authority. This is called a section 56 agreement (§ 56-aftale).
You can read more about this at borger.dk.
What if you have a work-related injury or disease?
You can read about how to report a work-related injury or disease at borger.dk. You will also find information about compensation and who can help you with your case.
Who should you contact if you have questions?
If you have questions about sickness benefit, you should contact your local authority. If you are unsure whether you are covered by the Danish rules, contact Udbetaling Danmark.
If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.