Parents of new-born children are entitled to a period of leave from their place of work after the birth. This also applies if you adopt children or have children in care; however, there are differences in the duration of the leave.
You may not work or go on holiday while you are on maternity or paternity leave. If you resume your work or hold saved-up holiday days from your place of work, your leave will be interrupted.
As a mother, you are entitled to maternity leave from two weeks before the expected time of birth and up to 15 weeks after the birth. If you give birth to twins, then – depending on your employment contract – it may be possible to have your maternity leave extended to 19 weeks after the birth.
If you have a problematic pregnancy, or if your doctor assesses that your work may pose a risk to your health or that of your child, you will be able to commence your maternity leave earlier than two weeks before the birth. Maternity leave may likewise be extended if your child is admitted to hospital during your period of maternity leave, or is not discharged from hospital after the normal post-delivery period.
As a father, you are entitled to paternity leave for a period of three weeks within the first 15 weeks following the birth of the child, or within the first 19 weeks in the case of twins.
If you are adopting a child, you have the same right to maternity/paternity leave as in the case of childbirth. However, you cannot take leave two weeks before the expected time of arrival.
If you are adopting a child in Greenland, you can take leave from one week before you receive the child. If you are adopting a child from abroad, you can take leave from three weeks before you receive the child. If you wish to take leave in the case of adoption from abroad, the adoption must have been mediated by an approved adoption organisation, or it must be a family reunification.
You are only entitled to 1-3 weeks of leave before receiving the child if it is a child you do not already know.
After receiving the child, as parents you have the right to a total of 15 weeks of leave for one child, or 19 weeks in the case of more than one child. Of this, you may hold three weeks of leave together. The rest of the leave must be divided between you.
If a child under the age of 3 is placed in family care for a period of more than one year, the municipality may grant special leave to the foster parents in connection with receiving the child.
If a child aged between 3 and 12 is placed in family care for a period of more than one year, leave of up to two weeks may be granted.
Immediately after the period of maternity/paternity leave, you are entitled to a total of 21 weeks of parental leave – 25 weeks in the case of twins. Parental leave may be taken alternately by the mother and father, but may not be simultaneously taken by both the mother and the father. If you wish to spend time together during parental leave, one parent must take a holiday instead.
The rules on parental leave apply to both birth and adoption.
How do I apply for leave?
You must inform your employer of when you plan to take your maternity/paternity leave.
Women must inform their employer of planned maternity leave at least 13 weeks before the expected time of birth. They must also inform their employer within 12 weeks after the birth of when they will be able to resume work.
Men must inform their employer of planned paternity leave at least four weeks before taking leave, and within the first 12 weeks after the birth.
Are you entitled to income during maternity/paternity leave?
If you are an employee, unemployed, enrolled in a study programme or self-employed, you have the right to receive benefits during maternity/paternity leave. The amount you can receive varies.
You can read more about parental benefit here:
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.