Parental benefit in Denmark

Færøske barselsdagpenge
Here you can read about the Danish rules for parental leave and parental benefit.

If you work in Denmark, then as a rule the Danish rules for parental leave will apply to you. If you are unsure about the extent to which you are entitled to parental leave or parental benefit in Denmark, contact Udbetaling Danmark.

New rules came into force on 2 August 2022. If your child was born before this date, the old rules still apply to you. You can read about them at borger.dk.

The leave process

In families where the parents are living together at the time of the birth of a child, each parent is entitled to 24 weeks' leave with parental benefit after the birth.

The mother may in general take:

  • Pregnancy leave with parental benefit four weeks before the expected date of birth.
  • Two weeks of leave with parental benefit after the birth, which must be taken immediately after the birth of the child.
  • Eight weeks of leave with parental benefit after the birth, which must be taken before the child is 10 weeks old. The period of leave may however be extended if work is partially resumed by agreement with the employer.
  • 14 weeks of leave with parental benefit, which must be taken before the child is one year old. The period of leave may however be extended or postponed until the child reaches the age of nine if the relevant conditions are met. If the mother is an employee, nine of the weeks of leave must be taken before the child is one year old, unless she is prevented from taking the leave due to special circumstances.

The two weeks of leave always start the day after the birth. The possible four weeks of pregnancy leave before childbirth will thus be shorter if the mother gives birth before the expected date of birth, and longer if the mother gives birth after the expected date of birth.

The father or co-mother may take:

  • Two weeks' leave with parental benefit after the birth, or, by agreement with the employer, before the child is ten weeks old. The period of leave may however be extended if work is partially resumed by agreement with the employer.
  • 22 weeks of leave with parental benefit, which must be taken before the child is one year old. The period of leave may however be extended or postponed until the child reaches the age of nine if the relevant conditions are met. If the mother or co-mother is an employee, nine of the weeks must be taken before the child is one year old, unless they are prevented from taking the leave due to special circumstances.

If the parents are not living together at the time of the birth, or if a parent is a single parent or is in another special situation, the parent is entitled to a different distribution of the leave period that takes account of the parent's situation.

You can transfer leave

As parents, you have the option of transferring weeks of leave to each other in a way that best suits your work and family life.

Parents are essentially entitled to 24 weeks of leave each, with the right to parental benefit after the birth. Some of these weeks of leave cannot be transferred to the other parent. 

If, for example, if the parents are employees, they cannot transfer nine of the weeks of leave, as these weeks must be taken by the employee in question before the child turns one year of age, unless the parent is prevented from taking the leave due to special circumstances. If the nine weeks are not taken before the child reaches the age of one, they are in principle lost.

This means that a parent can take more than 24 weeks of leave with parental benefit after the birth if the other parent has transferred some weeks of leave to him or her.

If you do not qualify for parental benefit – for example if you are receiving cash benefits – you cannot take leave with parental benefit. However, you will be able to transfer some weeks of leave to the other parent, if the other parent meets the conditions.

You can read more about transferring leave at borger.dk.

Are you entitled to parental benefit in connection with pregnancy, childbirth or adoption?

If you are an employee

If you are an employee, you can obtain parental benefit if you meet these conditions of employment at the start of the period of absence:

  • You must be in work the day before the leave starts, or on the first day of it.
  • You must have worked at least 160 hours within the last four whole months before your leave.
  • You must have worked at least 40 hours per month for at least three of those four months.

You must also be with your child every day, i.e. be physically present with the child during your leave.

Udbetaling Danmark will automatically receive information about your employment status when your employer reports your salary.

If you are receiving full salary during part of your leave, you must not apply for parental benefit until the salary stops. You can also apply for parental benefit if part of your salary stops during the leave, as in some cases you will be entitled to a certain amount of parental benefit alongside your salary.

If you receive full pay from your employer throughout your leave, you cannot apply for parental benefit.

If you are unsure about which rules apply to you, contact your employer or trade union to learn more about the terms and conditions in your collective bargaining agreement.

How to apply

If you are an employee, you must ask your employer to inform Udbetaling Danmark online at virk.dk/barselsdagpenge that you will be going on leave.

Once your employer has reported your leave, you will receive an e-mail via Digital Post from Udbetaling Danmark with access details for applying for parental benefit. You cannot apply for parental benefit until you receive this e-mail.

If you have multiple employers, you must inform each of them that you are going on leave.

You must apply for parental benefit within eight weeks of the birth or reception of the child. If you have received full pay during part of your leave, you must apply for parental benefit within eight weeks after your salary has ceased to be paid.

You can read more at borger.dk (in Danish). Here you can also read about adoption leave, and the possibilities for extending or postponing parts of the leave.

Please note that different rules for parental benefit apply if your child was born before 2 August 2022. You can read more at borger.dk (in Danish).

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed, you can receive parental benefit if you meet the following conditions at the start of each period of absence:

  • You have worked at least 18.5 hours a week during at least six of the past twelve months.
  • You have worked for the last month before going on leave.
  • Your business is making a profit.

You must also spend time with your child every day, i.e. be physically present.

If you have been self-employed for less than six months, you can also count periods when you were an employee.

Periods during which you have received sickness benefit, parental benefit, or similar benefits do not count as work periods.

If you are an employee of your own limited company (ApS) or joint stock company (A/S), then you are considered to be an employee, and not self-employed. You can read more under “If you are an employee”.

You can apply online via virk.dk for parental benefit from Udbetaling Danmark. You must apply for parental benefit within eight weeks of the birth or reception of the child. If your period of absence begins at a later date, you must apply for parental benefit within eight weeks of the first day of absence in that period.

You can read more at borger.dk (in Danish). Here you can also read about adoption leave and the possibilities for extending or postponing this.

Please note that different rules for parental benefit apply if your child was born before 2 August 2022. You can read more at borger.dk (in Danish).

If you are unemployed

If you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund (a-kasse)

You have the right to parental benefit during your leave if you are entitled to unemployment benefit – i.e. if you are registered as unemployed with your unemployment insurance fund and registered as a job-seeker with your job centre.

You also need to be with your child every day, i.e. be physically present and spend time with the child during your leave.

It is also a good idea to talk to your job centre or unemployment insurance fund about the conditions for being available for work during your parental leave.

As an unemployed person, you must inform your unemployment insurance fund that you are going on leave no later than eight weeks after the birth or reception of the child. Your unemployment insurance fund must then go to virk.dk/barselsdagpenge and inform Udbetaling Danmark that you are going on leave.

Once your unemployment insurance fund has reported your leave, you will receive an e-mail via Digital Post from Udbetaling Danmark with access details for applying for parental benefit. You cannot apply for parental benefit until you receive this e-mail.

You must apply for parental benefit within eight weeks of receiving the e-mail via Digital Post from Udbetaling Danmark.

You can read more about this at borger.dk (in Danish).

If you receive cash benefits or out-of-work allowance

You are not entitled to parental benefit if you are receiving cash benefits or out-of-work allowance. However, you can continue to receive cash benefits or out-of-work allowance while on leave.

Contact your local municipality for more information.

You can apply to have some weeks of leave transferred to the other parent, if the other parent meets the relevant conditions.

You can read more about the possibility of transferring leave at borger.dk.

Students

If you are a student, you can receive parental benefit if you physically spend time with your child every day during your leave, and you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are self-employed or have a permanent job alongside your studies: You can obtain parental benefit if you have a permanent job alongside your studies at which you have been employed on the first day of your leave or the day before. You must also have worked for at least 160 hours within the last four whole months before your leave, and at least 40 hours per month for at least three of those four months. You can also receive parental benefit if you are self-employed alongside your studies and have worked at least 18.5 hours a week for at least six of the past twelve months, and you have worked for the last month before you go on leave, and your business is profitable.
  • You are in paid internship: You can receive parental benefit if you are a trainee in paid internship on your first day of leave or the day before. You cannot therefore receive parental benefit if your first day of leave falls during a period of teaching at the educational institution.
  • You take leave of absence from your studies and register as unemployed with your unemployment insurance fund: If you take leave of absence from your study programme, you can receive parental benefit if you stop receiving your study grant (SU), register as unemployed with your unemployment insurance fund, and register as a job-seeker with your job centre, i.e. you have the right to receive unemployment benefit from your unemployment insurance fund. Please note that you must inform your place of education that you are taking leave of absence, so that you can document this when you apply for parental benefit.

If you are receiving a study grant (SU), you can receive extra payments when you have a child. As a parent who is studying, you may also have the right to child benefit. You can read about this at su.dk and borger.dk. At borger.dk you can also read about the rules for parental benefit in the case of adoption.

Recent graduates

You can receive parental benefit as a recent graduate if you physically spend time with your child every day during your leave, and you fulfil one of the following requirements:

  • If you have concluded your education in the last month before the leave begins: You can receive parental benefit if you have completed a course of at least 18 months of vocational training in the month before the start of your leave. You are only entitled to receive parental benefit from Udbetaling Danmark from the day the training is completed. It must be a course of vocational training of at least 18 months’ duration that is either SU-eligible or covered by the Vocational Training Act. This does not apply to courses of secondary education such as hhx or htx.
  • If you complete your education after the birth of the child: You can receive parental benefit if you complete your education after the birth of the child and before the child is one year old. However, you must be registered as unemployed with your unemployment insurance fund and be available for work, i.e. entitled to unemployment benefit.

How to apply

If you are not yet a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you should contact Udbetaling Danmark to obtain an application form for parental benefit.

Complete the form and return it along with the necessary documentation to Udbetaling Danmark via Digital Post.

If you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund and are entitled to unemployment benefit, you must notify the fund that you are going on parental leave. You must remember to register as unemployed with your unemployment insurance fund and register yourself available for work at your job centre.

The unemployment insurance fund will notify Udbetaling Danmark, who will send you an e-mail via Digital Post. You then confirm digitally that the information provided by your unemployment insurance fund is correct and, at the same time, send the necessary documentation to Udbetaling Danmark.

You must send a copy of either your examination certificate or pre-approval from your supervisor to Udbetaling Danmark, which must state the date on which you completed, or expect to complete, your studies.

You can read more at borger.dk (in Danish).

If you move to Denmark before your leave begins

As a citizen of another EU or EEA country, you have the right to parental benefit from Denmark if you meet the following three conditions:

  • You must be in work in Denmark the day before the leave starts or on the first day of it.
  • You must have worked at least 160 hours within the last four whole months before your leave.
  • You must have worked at least 40 hours per month for at least three of those four months.

You must also be with your child every day, i.e. be physically present and spend time with it.

Udbetaling Danmark automatically receives information about your employment and the number of hours you work in Denmark when your employer reports your salary.

If you move to Denmark when there is less than four full months until your leave, you can use the hours that you worked before you moved, if you have worked in another EU/EEA country, to establish your eligibility. You must submit documentation to Udbetaling Danmark detailing your employment, work and salary abroad, for example, your employment contract and pay slips.

If you were not in work before your leave began, you must be entitled to receive unemployment benefit from a Danish unemployment insurance fund in order to be eligible for Danish parental benefit.

If you move to another Nordic country during your leave

You can receive Danish parental benefit abroad if you:

  • Travel or move abroad during your period of leave and continue your leave without interruption
  • Work in Denmark but live in another EU or EEA country, are covered by Danish social security and are entitled to parental benefit under the Danish parental benefit rules.

You must have a NemKonto account in Denmark and provide Udbetaling Danmark with your address and possibly your phone number, so that they can contact you while you are abroad.

You cannot normally receive Danish parental benefit if you live in Denmark but work abroad. The legislation of the country in which you are working usually determines the rules for parental benefit.

You can read more on the Info Norden page about which country's social security system you are covered by.

Inform the authorities if you move abroad

If you move abroad with your child during your period of leave and receive benefits other than your parental benefit, you must notify the appropriate authorities, for example the Office for International Social Security at Udbetaling Danmark, or your local municipality.

Even if you can still receive parental benefit when you move abroad, your right to access other support such as family benefits (e.g. child allowance, child benefit, advance payments) may be affected. Moving abroad may also affect your access to other forms of support, such as health insurance, sickness benefit and occupational injury benefits.

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