Your employment contract determines your conditions in relation to, among other things, salary, vacation, and parental leave. You contract should live up to the legal minimum requirement for employees—besides that, you can also attempt to negotiate your way to better conditions.
Many of the employment conditions that may seem to be fundamental rights, for example, a 37 hour work week, salary during parental leave, and time off for a sick child, are not decided by the law—you or your union representative need to agree on those terms with your employer.
As a public employee, the majority of your rights will be fixed in a collective agreement. This applies also to a large number of private employees. But regardless of if you are privately or publicly employed, you have the right to arrange better conditions in your contract.
Important provisions should always be explicitly laid out in your contract and not only, for example, in the company’s personnel policy, regardless of if you are publicly or privately employed.
Your employment on paper
You are required to have an employment contract or proof of employment, if you are employed for longer than a month and work at least eight hours a week on average—regardless of if you are privately or publicly employed. You should have your contract at the latest one month after the start of your employment, and it should include all important terms for the employment conditions.
The contract should include the starting date of employment as well as potentially how long it will last.
Contact DM if you haven’t received your contract on time.
Are you starting a new job or do you have questions about your contract? Contact DM, if you need to have your contract checked.
If you send your contract to DM, the response time is 1-2 days, and you should send it via a secure mail. It is standard practice for employers that you take a few days to look through the contract.
Position and tasks
Your contract should include a description of your work, or a statement of your title, rank, position or job category. But it can be an advantage to have a job description attached, which more precisely describes your tasks—especially if there is doubt about what your title covers.
Your main place of work should also be included in the contract.
Your daily or weekly working hours should be named in your contract. Remember that a 37 hour work week is not set out by law, but if you are covered by a collective agreement, the working hours will be named in that agreement.
It should also be included in the contract if your working hours are permanent or flexible, and how you are compensated for overtime. If you according to your contract are obligated to work overtime without extra compensation—either in the form of time off or payment—you are employed on what is called a fixed salary.
If not otherwise mentioned, lunch breaks are not included in your working hours. If you get salary during your lunch break, your contract should for example say that your working hours are 37 hours a week including daily lunch break.
If you are employed in the public sector, the right to a paid lunch break is an integrated part of the collective agreement, which can only be changed in connection with collective bargaining.
The collectively agreed upon salary should also be included in the contract. This means your basic salary, supplements and other parts of your salary which are not included in your basic salary (for example, wage benefits, pension contributions, board and lodging). It should also say when your salary is paid.
You can always ask for a salary negotiation, but you only have the right to negotiate your salary if it says so in your contract. Therefore, you should get the right to a yearly salary negotiation included in your contact. If it says that the salary will be regulated, then the salary will be regulated by your employer, and you won’t have the right to negotiate your salary.
Be aware if the salary is including or excluding pension.
You can use DM’s salary check (in Danish) to evaluate the offered salary.
Pension is an important part of salary, but you are not guaranteed an employer-paid pension. DM recommends that you make an agreement for an employer-paid pension contribution. You should also have included in the contract that you can decide which pension fund you want to use.
When you evaluate your collected salary, you should add the employer’s pension contribution to this. For example, a net salary of 35,000 kroner plus 10 percent of your pension paid out by your employer would be equal to 38,500 kroner total.
In the public sector, employers pay around 17 percent of pension on top of your net salary, depending on where you are employed.
At DM we encourage our members to let AkademikerPension handle their pension savings.
Holiday and free days
You are required to have five weeks of holidays according to the Holiday Act, and it should also be found in your contract. Many have on top of this another week of holidays or five holiday/free days. You can try to have that included in your contract. You should also have included that you have your holiday days paid out if you have not used them before you resign.
Child’s sick days
If you are employed in the public sector, you can get entire or partial days off in the case of a child’s illness, if your work allows it.
If you are privately employed, it should be shown in your contract or collective agreement if you have entire or partial days off with salary in order to take care of your sick child.
The Act on Parental Leave ensures your right to absence and leave, and it does not need to be mentioned in your contract. On the other hand, the law does not guarantee your salary during parental leave. If you have the right to salary during your leave, it should specifically be included in your contract.
If you are publicly employed, your right to salary during parental leave will be included in your collective agreement.
If you are included in the Act on Salaried Employees, you as a woman have the right to half your salary for a period. As a man you do not have the right to salary. DM recommends that you attempt to make an agreement that you receive full salary during your leave for as long of a period as possible.
Parental leave fund
DM recommends that you have an agreement on parental leave in relation to the Act on Maternity Equalisation in the Private Labour Market written into your contract. You and your employer can also formulate an addendum to your current contract so you are sure that it agrees with the rules.
You can for example write:
According to the Act on Parental Leave, the employee should at minimum have a salary equal to the maximum reimbursement in the period where the company can receive salary reimbursement as relates to theAct on Maternity Equalisation in the Private Labour Market.
You should as much as possible avoid clauses in your contract. If you don’t have the possibility for that, it is important that you clarify which consequences the clauses can have for your further career. You should always contact DM if you have been presented with a clause.
Your resignation/termination notice should be included in your contract. Be aware of if there is an agreed-upon trial period, which would give your employer the ability to terminate you with a shortened notice.
Be also aware of if the 120 sick days rule is written into your contract. This rule gives your employer the option to terminate you with a abbreviated warning, if you have been sick for 120 days in the past 12 months.
The Act on Salaried Employees
The Act on Salaried Employees ensures private employees a number of minimum rights.
- Resignation/termination notices and requirements for termination
- Salary during illness
- Partial salary during parental leave as a woman
- The right to be organised and the right to negotiate your salary and terms of employment
DM recommends that it is written in your contract if you are included in the Act on Salaried Employees, and you can also have the Act included in your contract, even if your work is not considered functionary.
If you are employed on the basis of a collective agreement, the majority of your conditions will be laid out there. The collective agreement you are employed on should be included in your contract. You are required to get a copy of your collective agreement from your employer—either digitally or physically.
If it says in your contract that you are included in the personnel policy applicable at that time, you are also required to get a copy.
If you are a director
When you are hired as a director, you are as a starting point not included in the same laws that protect employees, laws such as the Act on Salaried Employees, Holidays, and Parental Leave. You should therefore ensure that these rights are included in your individual employment contract.
DM can advise you on how you as a director can guarantee your rights and terms of employment in your contract. Contact us at 38 15 66 00 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.