Employment and Labour Law

Employment and labour law in Denmark encompasses a wealth of complex rules laid down in statutes and collective agreements and non-statutory principles restricting the employer’s managerial rights.
Regularly dealing with employment and labour law-related issues, most employers will need professional legal advice from time to time.

Those rules and principles are relevant to the day-to-day personnel management and to the special situations that may arise in the relationship between an employer and an employee.

We have extensive expertise in all legal aspects pertaining to the relationship between employer and employee and to employee-like positions such as temps, consultants, casual labourers, etc.

The group primarily advises employers, but also executive officers and managers. In addition, we teach at institutions of higher education, conferences and courses, and write articles and books on selected employment and labour law issues.


Our advice includes:


  • Absence
  • Business transfers
  • Collective labour law
  • Dismissal
  • Employee handbooks and policies
  • Employment contracts
  • Employment law disputes
  • Foreign labour
  • Incentive schemes
  • Individual employment law
  • Legal investigations
  • Restriction of competition
  • Secondment of employees
  • Working environment law


What others say about us

Chambers Europe 2014:
What the team is known for First-class employment practice, with a prominent name in discrimination cases. Particular prowess in remuneration in the financial sector, employee protection and collective bargaining agreements. Often handles the employment aspects of corporate crime.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team works very fast, and has a strong international network."
"The lawyers are flexible, responsive and I am very satisfied with them."

See the ranking.

Legal 500 2014:
Kromann Reumert’s ‘professional and competent’ five-partner practice handles transactional and standalone matters.

See the ranking.

ABSENCE

Holiday and other types of absence are, for obvious reasons, issues of importance to both employer and employee.


 Danish holiday legislation and other legislation on absence from work contain a number of complex rules, often presenting considerable challenges for employers. Besides, holiday and other types of absence have been subject to comprehensive legal and administrative practice.

With many years of experience in dealing with every aspect of holiday and other types of absence, our employment and labour law group possesses the necessary expertise and insight to provide purposeful and value-adding advice.

Our advice covers e.g:

  • Questions on holiday under the Danish Holiday Act
  • Company policies on holiday, additional non-statutory days off, maternity, paternity and parental leave and other types of absence from work

BUSINESS TRANSFERS

Business transfers, mergers, restructurings or an employer's bankruptcy or suspension of payments are all processes with enormous influence on the relationship between employer and employee and consequently give rise to a series of employment and labour law problems.

Considerable experience and high professional skills are required to advise on such processes and ensure that employee issues are handled in accordance with legislation, collective agreements, etc., and in a way that is appropriate for those involved.

We have been involved in such processes on countless occasions – both as part of a joint Kromann Reumert team and on its own – and has thereby formed the necessary basis for providing purposeful and value-adding advice thereon.


In connection with business transfers (on the buyer's or the seller's side) and mergers we assist in:

  • Harmonising the terms and conditions of employee groups on both sides
  • Altering collective terms, etc.
  • Employment law issues in connection with restructurings
  • The legal position of employees in connection with an employer's bankruptcy, suspension of payments, etc.

COLLECTIVE LABOUR LAW

The Danish labour market is to a wide extent governed by collective agreements, and consequently many employers come into contact with collective labour law.

Collective labour law comes into play if the employer is bound by a collective agreement (due to membership of an employers' organisation, conclusion of a collective agreement, or failure to waive a collective agreement in connection with a business transfer), or if the employer is met with a claim from a trade union for conclusion of a collective agreement.

Labour law disputes, sometimes developing into labour conflicts, may prove devastating to the employer's business. It is therefore of vital importance that they are dealt with promptly and efficiently, which we are able to do because of our extensive expertise in collective labour law.

We provide advice to employers on:

  • Claims relating to collective agreements
  • The conclusion of collective and local agreements
  • Disputes relating to the interpretation of or non-compliance with collective agreements

We participate in:


  • Cllective agreement negotiations
  • Joint meetings
  • Mediation meetings
  • Industrial arbitration
  • Proceedings at the Labour Court
  • Issues concerning shop stewards and safety representatives and other activities naturally connected to collective labour law
  • The handling of collective agreements in connection with business transfers and restructurings poses particular challenges, in which we have considerable experience

DISMISSAL

A dismissal, with or without notice, is often difficult to handle for employer and employee alike, and will regularly escalate into a dispute between the parties, which may prove a very tiring and costly affair for the parties involved.

Due to our extensive expertise and experience in dismissals with and without notice, the group has the necessary basis for providing the best possible advice, thereby contributing to avoid or limit the extent of such disputes.

One of the core areas of the employment law group's advice is to provide assistance to employers, executive officers and managers in the event of disputes between an employer and an employee.

Such assistance includes the drafting of written warnings and, in the event of termination of employment, letters of dismissal.

We assist in:

  • Drafting letters of dismissal
  • Determining the correct length of notice periods
  • Giving notice of holiday
  • Deciding on suspension and release from duty to work, and in all other questions arising in relation to dismissals
  • The fairness of dismissals according to general or special employee protection rules, and on the consequences if a dismissal is unfair or contrary to the protection rules
  • The drafting and negotiation of severance agreements. 
  • The special circumstances requiring the dismissal of a large number of employees, the group advises on the rules on consultation and notification in connection with collective redundancies
  • In the event of material breaches of employment contracts, we advise on summary dismissals, i.e. dismissals without notice

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS AND POLICIES

More and more employers are choosing to introduce general guidelines at the workplace in the form of employee handbooks and/or policies.

Topics of such employee handbooks/policies may be e.g. rights and duties in case of sickness, pregnancy and maternity leave, entitlement to non-statutory days off, use of the internet and e-mail, smoking, alcohol, ethics, and prevention of insider trading.

The existence of such guidelines will typically imply extensive administrative advantages and strengthen the employer's possibility of sanctioning employees who act contrary to the guidelines.

We advise employers on:


  • The drafting and implementation of employee handbooks and/or policies
  • The extent of the employer's managerial rights
  • Consultations with employee representatives
  • Notice to the employees where required, etc.

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

Employment contracts lay down the rules governing the relationship between (an) employer and (an) employee, and it is therefore important to draft them with care.

In principle the employer and the employee are free to agree the terms of employment. In practice, however, the contractual freedom is very much restricted by statutes and, if applicable, collective arrangements (collective agreements, local agreements, etc.).

According to the Danish Act on Statements of Employment Particulars, every employee must be notified in writing of all material employment terms.

Case law in relation to the Act is constantly developing, and according to the latest case law there are high requirements to the employer's drafting of the employment contract and any other document containing material employment terms.

We assists employers in:


  • Preparing employment contracts – standard or individual - for all employee groups
  • Reviewing and, if necessary, amending existing employment contracts to comply with current legislation
  • Their endeavours to optimise the terms of their employment contracts

EMPLOYMENT LAW DISPUTES

Termination of an employment with or without notice, whether by the employer or by the employee, will frequently give rise to a legal dispute.

It may concern:

  • The fairness of the dismissal
  • Claims relating to bonus schemes or other incentive schemes
  • Entitlement to holiday pay, etc.

Like any other legal dispute, an employment law dispute is often a tiring and costly affair for the parties involved.

Our expertise

Due to our extensive expertise and experience in disputes between employers and employees, we have the necessary basis for providing the best possible advice, thereby contributing to avoid or limit the extent of such disputes.

If, nevertheless, a dispute should arise, Kromann Reumert's employment and labour law group will advise on the handling of the dispute and, if required, participate in negotiations with the employees and their trade unions with a view to reaching a settlement.

In situations where it is not possible to negotiate a satisfactory settlement of the dispute, it may be necessary to initiate legal proceedings. The group constantly handles a significant number of employment law-related court and arbitration proceedings, including leading actions dealing with issues that have not been tried before.

FOREIGN LABOUR

In line with the increasing globalisation of industry and the increased pressure on the labour market in Denmark, many companies choose to recruit foreign labour.


We advises on:


  • The employment of foreign labour and all of the immigration and employment law issues which may arise in that connection
  • Whether it is necessary to obtain a residence and work permit for a specific employee, etc.
  • The practical handling of the application procedure


Having many cases of this type, we have well-established contacts within the Danish Immigration Service. This is for the benefit of our clients, who will experience a swifter information flow from the Danish Immigration Service and often a quicker administrative procedure.

We also advise on the employees’ possibilities of obtaining a more advantageous taxation treatment, in which case we will involve our colleagues from the Tax Law group.

INCENTIVE SCHEMES

Danish and foreign companies and institutions increasingly use incentive schemes as part of (the) employee(s’) remuneration.

There are many advantages to incentive schemes – but also a number of legal challenges and pitfalls to take into consideration in the establishment and administration of them.

We assist employers in:

  • The drafting and implementing employee incentive schemes, in which remuneration is based wholly or partly on shares, warrants, stock options, convertible bonds, stock appreciation rights, bonus, commission, percentage of profits, or the like
  • Reviewing an existing incentive scheme if, in the event of termination of an employment, there is uncertainty about the legal position of the former employee in respect of the (existing) scheme
  • The introduction of employee benefits and flexible remuneration packages

If it comes to a dispute over an incentive scheme, we also assist in such matters, having already brought before the courts a number of leading legal actions on e.g. stock option and similar schemes.

We cover not only employment law advice, but also advise on tax and company law connected to the various types of incentive schemes.

INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYMENT LAW

Individual employment law is the legal discipline focusing on the relationship between the employer and the individual employee.

Individual employment law is of relevance to all employers and employees irrespective of the nature of the workplace and is of importance to both the day-to-day personnel management and to the special situations that may arise in the relationship between an employer and an employee.

Kromann Reumert’s employment and labour law group has huge expertise in individual employment law matters relating to executive officers, managers, salaried employees and employees paid by the hour.

We advise on all legal issues relating to individual employment law, e.g:

  • Employment contracts
  • The employer’s managerial rights
  • Employee policies
  • Drafting of warnings
  • Letters of dismissal (with or without notice)
  • Severance agreements

LEGAL INVESTIGATIONS

When significant irregularities are suspected in an enterprise or public institution, the matters to be investigated and the rules to be applied can be of a sensitive and complex nature. An independent legal investigation may therefore be appropriate.


We have extensive knowledge of and experience in conducting legal investigations for both private enterprises and public authorities, ensuring a fast and efficient investigative process in accordance with due process.


 Where specialist knowledge within a particular legal field is required, we are able to draw on experts from Kromann Reumert’s other practice areas. Our lawyers work together as a team to investigate and assess complicated and factual legal issues across a range of legal fields.

RESTRICTION OF COMPETITION

The use of restrictions of competition in employment relationships may be necessary to maintain the employer's market position and to protect the employer from competition from a former employee.

Generally, where there are no agreed restrictions on competition, the employer will be protected only by the provisions of the Danish Marketing Practices Act. In our experience the Act provides poor protection for employers against unauthorised competition from former employees and their new employers.


We advise on employee competition restrictions both during employment (the employee's duty of loyalty) and after its termination.


The assistance covers primarily the conclusion and enforcement of:

  • Non-competition clauses (prohibition against taking up employment with or setting up a competing business) 
  • Clauses on non-solicitation of customers and suppliers (prohibition against establishing business relationships with the customers and/or suppliers of a former employer)
  • Causes on non-solicitation of employees (clauses preventing or restricting employees from taking up employment with other employers)


We also provide advice on:


  • The competition restrictions implied in the provisions of the Marketing Practices Act on good marketing practices and protection of trade secrets
  • The event of non-compliance with any of the aforesaid clauses and/or the provisions of the Marketing Practices Act, we assist in obtaining a prohibitory injunction and in raising a claim for an agreed penalty/compensatory payment
  • Assessing the validity and scope of specific clauses in connection with the employment of individuals bound by such clauses

SECONDMENT OF EMPLOYEES

In line with the increasing globalisation of industry, more and more companies are considering secondment of employees. Typically a secondment from one enterprise to another takes place within the same international group, but it is not always so. A true secondment is normally one in which the employee remains employed by the seconding enterprise.

Each individual secondment gives rise to extremely complex legal problems, including in respect of tax, social insurance, applicable law, correlation between the secondment agreement and the employment contract with the seconding employer, etc.

As part of our international relations, we advise:


  • Danish employers considering an outward secondment to another country 
  • Foreign employers considering an inward secondment to Denmark and/or the establishment of a branch in Denmark

Our assistance varies from general memos on Danish employment law matters to advice on specific, complex problems. Where required, our assignments will be carried out in cooperation with Kromann Reumert's Corporate Law and Tax Law groups.

WORKING ENVIRONMENT LAW

Danish working environment law provides that all employers have an obligation to maintain a safe and secure working environment.

In addition to this general obligation, there is a multitude of requirements described in various guidelines, executive orders, etc., which many employers find highly difficult to sort out.

We advise on the obligations imposed on employers by the working environment legislation, including:


  • The health and safety organisation in the workplace
  • Workplace evaluations
  • Orders and prohibitions issued by the Danish Working Environment Authority, etc.
  • The implementation of employee policies on working environment
  • Industrial injury claims

Contacts within Employment and Labour Law