New Regulations on Parental Leave in Denmark and Norway

Payroll and HR | 16.09.2022

by Therese Eftevaag

The laws regarding parental leave and allowance have been adjusted in both Denmark and in Norway. Are you updated on the regulations? 

The New Parental Leave Act in Denmark

June 1st 2019, the EU adopted EU Directive 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers (the "Work-Life Balance Directive"). The implementation into Danish law must be completed on August 2nd 2022. With the new Parental Leave Act, Denmark will live up to the obligation to implement the directive in Danish law. The Act enters into force on July 1st  2022 and is effective for children born on 2 August 2022 and later. Read the full summary here. 

New leave period

The new Parental Leave Act intends to ensure a more equal sharing of leave between parents. There will still be 48 weeks of parental leave for mother and father combined, but they will be shared equally as of 2 August 2022 so that each parent is entitled to 24 weeks. The model is also known as the 24-24 model. The new parental leave can be illustrated as follows:

  • 4 weeks of pregnancy leave (mother) 
  • Mother's 10 weeks of leave, of which 2 weeks are compulsory leave immediately after the birth • Father/co-mother's 2 weeks of leave at birth 
  • Mother's 14 weeks leave, of which 9 weeks are earmarked leave 
  • Father's/co-mother's 22 weeks, of which 9 weeks are earmarked leave

New definitions 

The new Parental Leave Act no longer uses the familiar definitions such as paternity/maternity leave, childbirth leave and parental leave.From August 2nd 2022, we will therefore have to consider the right to leave (and parental pay) in the first 10 weeks after the birth and the right to leave (and parental pay) in the period from the 11th week after the birth onwards. Furthermore, we must consider whether leave is earmarked* or non-earmarked*

Earmarked leave: 11 weeks for each parent will be earmarked – i.e. the weeks cannot be transferred

Non-earmarked leave: However, the remaining 13 weeks (24 − 11 earmarked weeks) of parental pay can be transferred to the other parent if you do not wish to take the leave yourself.

Special circumstances: Postponement of the leave due to special circumstances can, for example, take place in one of the following situations:

1. The parent is temporarily sent by the Danish state to serve abroad.

2. The parent is unable to care for the child because the parent is temporarily seriously ill or hospitalised.

3. The parent is incarcerated in a Prison Service institution, or an equivalent foreign institution.

4. The parent has no, or insufficient, contact with the child.

5. The paternity or co-motherhood of the child has not been established, or the child has been placed outside the home in accordance with the Social Services Act.

Extended by 8 or 14 weeks of extra leave: Continued access to extend the right of leave. It is no longer possible to extend parental pay for the extended period of leave. Ergo, if the parents extend the leave, the extension will be without a corresponding extension of parental pay.

Special rules: The new maternity rules also regulate new rules for adopters and new rules for parents who do not live together and introduce new categories of people who can receive the transferable non-earmarked weeks, including new rules for solo parents, close family members and rainbow families.The rules for immediate family members and rainbow families will not be reviewed in this brochure, as they only apply from January 1st 2024.

In this brochure, you will get a more  detailed overview of the new Act and a definition of the concepts that are important to know and address.

New regulations of parental leave in Norway

On August 2nd, some of the rules for parental allowance were changed.

Right to parental allowance in connection with childbirth

The Working Environment Act gives the father or co-mother the right to 2 weeks' leave in connection with the birth to assist the mother, but the Working Environment Act has not given any right to pay during this leave - until now.  From 2 August 2022, a father or co-mother entitled to parental allowance has been given the right to take out 2 weeks of parental leave in connection with childbirth. These two weeks will count out of the total parental leave period.

The father or co-mother has been given an independent right to parental allowance

Fathers or co-mothers who have earned the right to parental allowance get an independent right to take 8 weeks of parental allowance, without any activity requirement of the mother, even if the mother has not earned the right to parental allowance.

Beyond these weeks, as a general rule, an activity requirement is imposed on the mother in order for the father to be able to withdraw parental allowance.

Siblings with small age gap

Parents who have children less than 48 weeks between are now able to withdraw what remains of their minimum entitlements of leave from the first period into the next. So if they enter a new period of parental benefit before finishing the previous one, the mother can take up to 22 weeks with her into the next period. Fathers and mothers who adopt can take up to 8 weeks of benefit with them.

The new regulations will be addressed at the Norwegian Payroll and HR conference 2022.

If you need assistance with keeping track of the Nordic rules and law regulations, you are welcome to contact us. Azets has payroll expertise in all Nordic countries, and differentiate with our Nordic collaborative approach. Let us make your cross-country payroll processes seamless and efficient with our local knowledge.

post author

About Therese Eftevaag

Therese is Product Marketing Coordinator at Azets. She is taking good care of our product portfolio by creating content and making sure the good stories come to light. She has a degree in marketing and HR and a passionate interest in communication - especially making complex information understandable for everyone.