Maternity/paternity benefits

Introduction

Maternity benefits are benefits that you have the possibility of getting as compensation for the income which you do not get when you are on maternity leave. Your possibility of obtaining maternity benefits depends on your affiliation with the labour market, meaning if you are:

  • a salaried employee on maternity leave
  • an unemployed person on maternity leave
  • self-employed on maternity leave or
  • students and newly qualified on maternity leave.

Maternity benefits are administered by Udbetaling Danmark (Public Benefits Administration).

Leave with maternity benefits is divided into four stages:

  • Pregnancy leave for the mother four weeks before expected childbirth.
  • Maternity leave for the mother for 14 weeks after the childbirth.
  • Paternity leave for the father or the co-mother for two weeks after the childbirth according to agreement with the employer before the child reaches 14 weeks.
  • Parental leave for up to 32 weeks which the parents can split.

If only one of you is eligible for maternity/paternity benefits from Denmark

If only you, and not the child’s other parent, are eligible for Danish benefits, you have a right to maternity/paternity benefits in 16 weeks out of the 32 weeks of the child-care leave. However, you can receive the benefits in all 32 weeks if you live alone with the child or if you can document that the child’s other parent does not receive benefits from a different country during this period.

There are various possibilities of extending or postponing your leave. You can read more about the possibilities of postponing on the Danish pages at borger.dk based on your situation:

If you have adopted a child

You can also take leave when you adopt a child. If you want to know more about leave in case of adoption, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

Start My parental leave

You can log on "My parental leave" with eID and:

  • get an overview of your leave
  • apply for a parental allowance if you have received a letter notifying you that this is an option
  • let us know if you have new information related to your leave•
  • et us know if the information your employer has provided are incorrect.

A salaried employee on maternity leave

If you are an employee and have worked in Denmark for the last four whole months, you will receive parental benefit if you meet the following conditions:

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

If you move to Denmark from another EU/EEA country less than four whole months before your leave, your employment in that other country counts as part of the 160 hours in total and 40 hours per month. To receive maternity/paternity benefits in Denmark, it is a condition that you are employed in Denmark prior to your leave.

Please note that you also need to spend time - be physically present - with your child every day to receive maternity/paternity benefits.

If your child is new-born when you move to Denmark

If you move to Denmark after the birth of your child, you are eligible for the benefits from Udbetaling Danmark if:

  • You meet the employee-conditions above or are eligible to receive unemployment benefits
  • You no longer receive maternity/paternity benefits from the country that you arrive from
  • Your child was born less than 46 weeks ago

If you comply with all these terms, you are eligible for maternity/paternity benefits until your child is 46 weeks.

If you or the child’s other parent are not subject to the Danish maternity/paternity rules before your child is 46 weeks, you cannot take your leave and receive maternity/paternity benefits from Udbetaling Danmark later.

Udbetaling Danmark automatically gets the information about your employment and hours when your employer reports your pay.

You should be aware that there are other conditions for obtaining maternity benefits if you have taken leave before 1 July 2018. You can read more about the rules on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you get full salary for part of your maternity leave, you should not apply for maternity benefits until your employer does not pay the salary any longer. If you receive full salary during your entire leave, you should not apply for maternity benefits.

If you are in doubt about which rules apply to you, you can contact your employer or trade union to hear more about the rules of your collective agreement.

1. It begins with your employer

As a salaried employee, you must ask your employer to go to virk.dk/barselsdagpenge and inform Udbetaling Danmark that you are going on leave. They can do that no earlier than on your first day on leave.

2. You receive a letter giving you access to apply

When your employer has given notice of your leave, you receive a letter through Digital Post from Udbetaling Danmark with access to apply for maternity benefits. You cannot apply in advance.

Deadlines for application

When you are going to apply for maternity benefits, the deadlines are as follows:

  • 8 weeks after the childbirth if you do not receive pay during the leave
  • 8 weeks after the payment of salary has stopped if you receive pay during part of the leave
  • 8 weeks after the first day of leave, e.g. if a father takes paternity leave without pay.

If Udbetaling Danmark receives the application after expiry of the deadline, you cannot get maternity benefits until the day when Udbetaling Danmark has received your application.

In special circumstances you can get an exemption from the deadline for application. If you want to know more exemptions, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you have more employers, you must notify each of them. If you want to know more about what to do if you have more employers, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you are a salaried employee, including a student with a student job

If you have a permanent job in addition to your education, you have the possibility of applying for maternity benefits as a salaried employee for the hours during which you work.

If you are on full leave, are employed for 37 hours a week and get more than DKK 20,254 as monthly pay, you will get the highest unemployment benefit of DKK 4,300 (2018) per week before tax.

Your maternity benefits will be calculated according to your hourly wage (excluding Labour Market Contribution) and how many hours of leave you take per week.

In 2018, the maximum is DKK 116.22 per hour before tax for maternity benefits (DKK 4,300/37 hours). If your hourly wage is less than DKK 116.22, you will get your usual hourly rate.

How does Udbetaling Danmark calculate your hourly wage?

Udbetaling Danmark calculates your hourly wage based on your average income and working hours for the past three full months before your first day of leave. Here, the information reported to the Danish Tax Agency by your employer is used automatically.

If you have been employed for less than eight weeks, however, Udbetaling Danmark does not calculate your average income and working hours. Instead, the income and working hours reported by your employer to Udbetaling Danmark are used.

Check your collective agreement and terms of employment

Some collective agreements and businesses give a right to full salary during the entire or parts of the maternity leave. When the salary stops, you can get maternity benefits from Udbetaling Danmark.

If you are in doubt of whether you can get salary during your leave, your employer or trade union can help you understand your collective agreement.

If you do not have fixed working hours or you have taken leave before 1 July 2018, you can read more about the rules that apply to you at borger.dk, insert link to salaried employees on maternity leave.

You can get maternity benefits abroad if you:

  • go to or move abroad during the leave or
  • work in Denmark, but reside in another EU or EEA country.

You must have a NemKonto (easy account) in Denmark and provide Udbetaling Danmark with your address and your telephone number, if any, so that they can reach you abroad.

You cannot get maternity benefits if you live in Denmark and work abroad, e.g. in Sweden and Germany. It is the law of the country in which you work that determines the rules of maternity benefits.

You must always notify Udbetaling Danmark if you move abroad.

If you want to know more about maternity benefits for salaried employees, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

An unemployed person on maternity leave

For those who are members of an unemployment insurance fund

You can get maternity benefits during your leave if you have reported unemployed in your unemployment insurance fund and made yourself available for work as a job-seeker in your job centre, meaning that you are entitled to unemployment benefits.

You must have daily physical contact with your child during your maternity leave to get maternity benefits.

Further, it is a good idea that you consult your job centre, your unemployment insurance fund or other player about the conditions for being available, when you are about to take maternity leave.

Cash benefits or income support

You cannot get maternity benefits if you receive cash benefits or income support However, you can continue getting cash benefits or income support when you are on maternity leave. If that applies to you, you must contact your municipality.

If you want to know more about maternity benefits for unemployed persons, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

1. If you are unemployed and get unemployment benefits from an unemployment insurance fund, you must tell your unemployment insurance fund about your childbirth no later than eight weeks after the childbirth.

2. When your unemployment insurance fund has told Udbetaling Danmark about your childbirth, you receive a letter by Digital Post about what you must do and access to apply for maternity benefits. The unemployment insurance fund cannot inform them of your childbirth until on the first day of your leave. You cannot apply in advance.

3. You must apply for maternity benefits no later than eight weeks after receipt of the letter.

In special circumstances you can get an exemption from the deadline for application. If you want to know more about the possibilities of getting an exemption from the deadline for application, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you are unemployed

You can get the same amount of maternity benefits as you get for unemployment benefits. However, you can get no more than DKK 4,300 (2018) per week before tax.

Changes to unemployment benefits - contact Udbetaling Danmark

If, during your maternity leave, you become entitled to a higher amount of unemployment benefits, you can also get a higher maternity benefits amount.

You must contact Udbetaling Danmark yourself to have the amount changed. The amount will be changed on the Monday after your request.

You must also have documentation from your unemployment insurance fund.

Udbetaling Danmark changes provider status

If you get a fixed reduced rate as a non-provider from your unemployment insurance fund, Udbetaling Danmark automatically changes your maternity benefits to the higher provider rate after the birth of your child.

A self-employed on maternity leave

You can get maternity benefits as a self-employed if you meet these five conditions:

  • You have worked for at least six months within the past 12 months.
  • You have worked for the past month before you took maternity leave.
  • There is a profit in your business.
  • You have worked at least half time (18.5 hours a week) in your business.
  • You are together with your child every day, meaning that physically you spend time with your child during your maternity leave.

If you have worked as a self-employed for less than six months, you can include periods in which you have worked as a salaried employee.

Periods during which you have obtained sick pay, maternity benefits or similar benefits do, however, not count as work.

If you are employed in your own ApS or A/S, you are a salaried employee and not self-employed. You can read more about the rules for salaried employees on maternity leave under “A salaried employees on maternity leave” on this page.

As a self-employed you apply for maternity benefits from Udbetaling Danmark on Virk:

Deadline for application

You must apply for maternity benefits no later than 8 weeks after the child has been born in order for you to get maternity benefits.

If you start your leave after the childbirth, you must apply for maternity benefits no later than 8 weeks after the first day of leave. If you apply later than 8 weeks after, you cannot get maternity benefits until the time when Udbetaling Danmark has received your application. In special circumstances you can get an exemption from the deadline for application.

If you want to know more about the possibilities of getting an exemption from the deadline for application, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you are self-employed

The amount that you can get for maternity benefits is calculated based on:

  • the profit in your business
  • any income transferred to a co-operating spouse
  • own sick pay and maternity benefits.

However, you can get no more than DKK 4,300 (2018) per week before tax for maternity benefits.

To get the full maternity benefit amount, your income must be at least DKK 223,600 (2018) per year. (DKK 220,740 in 2017).

If you do not have any profit in your business, and you have not taken out insurance, you cannot get any maternity benefits.

If you have not worked as a self-employed during the entire past income year, Udbetaling Danmark uses your most recent tax assessment notice as a salaried employee or financial statements for an entire year signed by an auditor. The financial statements must be determined in the same way as the tax assessment notice.

Health insurance with Udbetaling Danmark

If you have purchased health insurance from Udbetaling Danmark no later than six months before you apply for maternity benefits, you can get at least two thirds of the maximum maternity leave rate, irrespective of how much you have earned.

With the insurance, and if you are subject to a waiting period that expires during your leave, you will also get at least two thirds of the maximum maternity benefit rate from the time when the waiting period expires.

What do you need to do?

You must inform Udbetaling Danmark yourself that you are subject to a waiting period and when it expires. Then Udbetaling Danmark can calculate your maternity benefits again.

As self-employed, you have three possibilities of working during your maternity leave.

1. You can work for up to 25 % a week. This means that you take leave for 75 % of the time with 75 % of the maternity benefits you can get on full leave.

2. You can work for more than 25 % and up to 50 % per week. This means that you take leave for 50 % of the week with half maternity benefits.

3. If you resume your work by more than 50 % per week, that will be like working full time. Therefore, maternity benefits cannot be paid to you.

Students and newly qualified on maternity leave

As a student, you can get maternity benefits if you are in one of the following three situations:

1. You have a permanent job in addition to your education

If you have a permanent job in addition to your education, you have the possibility of applying for maternity benefits as a salaried employee for the hours during which you work. You can therefore read more about which rules apply in the section “Salaried employees on maternity leave”.

2. You are an apprentice in paid traineeship

You can get maternity benefits if you are an apprentice in paid traineeship on your first day of leave or the day before. Therefore, you cannot get maternity benefits if your first day of leave is in a period with teaching at the place of education.

You can read more about which rules apply in the section “A salaried employees on maternity leave”.

3. You are on leave from your education and report unemployed in your unemployment insurance fund

When you take leave from your education, you can get maternity benefits if you stop your state study grants, report unemployed in your unemployment insurance fund and make yourself available for jobs in your job centre, meaning that you are entitled to unemployment benefits.

You should be aware that you must inform your place of education about your leave so that you can document the leave when you apply for maternity benefits. You can read more about which rules apply in the section “Unemployed persons on maternity leave”.

Further, you must also be together with your child each day in all situations, meaning physically spend time with the child.

If you get state study grants

If you get state study grants, you may instead of maternity benefits get extra state study grant portions. If you want to know more about state study grants for parents, you can read more on the state study grants’ website:

If you want to know more about maternity benefits for students and newly qualified, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

As a newly qualified, you can get maternity benefits if you are together with your child each day, meaning that physically you spend time with your child during the leave and that you meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have completed business education of at least 18 months during the last month up to the childbirth, if you are a mother and until you take leave if you are the other parent of the child. It must be an education that qualifies you for a job right after completed education.
  • You complete your education after you have given birth, but within 46 weeks of the birth. At the same time, you must be enrolled as unemployed in your unemployment insurance fund, be available and entitled to unemployment benefits. You can read more in the section “An unemployed person”.

You should be aware that you cannot take leave after the child has reached the age of 46 weeks.

It is your situation that determines what you must do to get maternity benefits.

If you are newly qualified

If, as a newly qualified, you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you must contact Udbetaling Danmark to get an application form for maternity benefits.

You fill in the form and return it with documentation to Udbetaling Danmark via Digital Post.

If you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund and are entitled to unemployment benefits from an unemployment insurance fund, you must contact your unemployment insurance fund and tell them that you are going on maternity leave.

The Unemployment insurance fund notifies Udbetaling Danmark, which sends you a letter by Digital Post. You confirm digitally that the information from your unemployment insurance fund is correct and you also send documentation to Udbetaling Danmark.

Documentation

As documentation, you must send a copy of your exam certificate or advance approval from your tutor to Udbetaling Danmark. It must appear on which date you completed the education or expect to complete it.

If you are a student with a student job

If you are a student with a student job, the same rules apply as if you were a salaried employee. You can read more in the section “A salaried employee on maternity leave”.

If you are a student with a student job

If you have a permanent job in addition to your education, you have the possibility of applying for maternity benefits as a salaried employee for the hours during which you work. Read more under how much you can get as a salaried employee.

If you are newly qualified

As newly qualified you can get the following amounts for maternity benefits:

  • DKK 3075 per week (2018) before the birth of the child.
  • DKK 3,525 per week (2018) after the birth of the child.

If you provide for other children under 18, you will also get paid DKK 3,525 per week (2018) before the childbirth.

More information

1. If you are ill due to your pregnancy, you must tell it to your employer or unemployment insurance fund which must report it to Udbetaling Danmark. As self-employed, you must apply for maternity benefits at virk.dk.

2. You will then receive a letter by Digital Post which explains how you should apply for maternity benefits or which information you must send to Udbetaling Danmark in the self-service solution “My maternity leave”.

3. If you get a letter by Digital Post that Udbetaling Danmark must have a doctor’s certificate, you must contact your doctor to have it filled in, and the doctor must then send it to Udbetaling Danmark.

You should be aware that if Udbetaling Danmark does not receive the doctor’s certificate within the deadline notified to you, this may influence your right to maternity benefits.

If your work can harm your unborn child

As the mother you can take leave earlier with maternity benefits if:

  • your doctor thinks that there is a special risk for you or your unborn child
  • your work can harm your unborn child.

Your employer must report your absence to Udbetaling Danmark, which sends you a letter by Digital Post. From the letter you can see which information you must send to Udbetaling Danmark in the self-service solution “My maternity leave”. (Min Barsel)

Sickness during maternity leave

If the mother of the child gets too ill to take care of the child within the first 14 weeks after the birth, the father can assume her right to leave during this period. There must be medical documentation that the mother cannot take care of the child.

If one of the parents gets ill during the 32 weeks of parental leave with maternity/paternity benefits, the other parent can use the remaining part. However, this requires that the parent on leave who gets ill, suspends their leave by notifying Udbetaling Danmark.

If you are a salaried employee or unemployed, you must contact your employer or unemployment insurance fund in case of illness.

If your child is hospitalized

If your child is hospitalized within the first 46 after the birth, and you do not return to work in the meantime, you can extend your leave by the days in which the child is hospitalized.

You can extend the leave by no more than three months altogether. However, extension does not apply to the paternity leave.

You should be aware that it is only the hospitalization that gives the possibility of the above. If the child is returned home for e.g. early home stay, the days are not counted.

If you return to work while the child is hospitalized, you can instead postpone the remaining leave with maternity benefits until after the discharge. To use that possibility, the child must have been discharged no later than 60 weeks after the birth.

Deadlines for application

As self-employed, you must apply no later than three weeks after the first day of absence.

As a salaried employee you must apply no later than:

  • 8 weeks after the childbirth if you do not receive salary during the leave
  • 8 weeks after the payment of salary has stopped if you receive pay during part of the leave.

As an unemployed person, you must do as follows:

1. If you are unemployed and get unemployment benefits from an unemployment insurance fund, you must tell your unemployment insurance fund about your childbirth no later than eight weeks after the childbirth.

2. When your unemployment insurance fund has told Udbetaling Danmark about your childbirth, you receive a letter by Digital Post about what you must do and about access to apply for maternity benefits. The unemployment insurance fund cannot inform them of your childbirth until on the first day of your leave. You cannot apply in advance.

3. You must apply for maternity benefits no later than eight weeks after receipt of the letter.

If you apply later, you cannot get unemployment benefits until the day when Udbetaling Danmark has received your application. In special circumstances you can get an exemption from the deadline for application.

If you want to know more about the possibilities of getting an exemption from the deadline for application, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

You can read what you must do in case of the infant’s death on the Danish page at borger.dk:

When you get maternity benefits, you have a duty of disclosure. This means that you must immediately notify Udbetaling Danmark if your circumstances change and if the change has an impact on your maternity leave.

When you get maternity benefits, you must e.g. notify Udbetaling Danmark if:

  • you end the leave before planned
  • you start working partially
  • you take holidays with e.g. pay or holiday pay
  • you extend your leave with reduced unemployment benefit
  • you no longer live together with your child
  • your child is hospitalized - that gives the possibility of extended leave
  • you go to or move abroad during the leave
  • you become unemployed during the leave and are entitled to unemployment benefits. In some situations that will give more for maternity benefits.
  • you have health insurance with Udbetaling Danmark, which enters into force or expires during your leave

If you do not notify Udbetaling Danmark when your situation changes, you risk having to pay money back.

Udbetaling Danmark sends its letters in Danish

When you receive maternity benefits, you will receive letters from Udbetaling Danmark, e.g. about the amount you are being paid.

All letters sent from Udbetaling Danmark are in Danish. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have a friend or acquaintance translate the letters if you do not understand Danish. You are also always welcome to call Udbetaling Danmark if you have any questions.

If you are contacting Udbetaling Danmark on behalf of someone else, you first need to have a power of attorney. This also applies even if you are cohabiting and you just need to speak to Udbetaling Danmark about the case.

If someone else is going to contact Udbetaling Danmark on your behalf, you first need to provide that person with a power of attorney.

To you who receive maternity benefits

Here, you can digitally give someone else a power of attorney to act on your behalf when contacting Udbetaling Danmark. You can provide a power of attorney for maternity benefits or for other areas that Udbetaling Danmark deals with.

For those of you who will be helping someone else

If the person who wants to provide you with a power of attorney does not have NemID, you can use a written power of attorney. The form can be filled out on the screen or by hand, and it needs to be signed by the person giving you the power of attorney.

If you have a written power of attorney from someone receiving maternity benefits, you can send the signed power of attorney digitally. If you are using a mobile phone, you can take a picture of the power of attorney and attach it.

You can also send the power of attorney by post to Udbetaling Danmark, Kongens Vænge 8, 3400 Hillerød. Please note that it may take up to a week before Udbetaling Danmark receives the power of attorney by post.

If you want to know more about powers of attorney for maternity benefits, you can read more on the Danish page at borger.dk:

If you have received more maternity benefits than you are entitled to, for example because your situation has changed, you should generally return this money to Udbetaling Danmark.

If you have to pay money back to Udbetaling Danmark, Barsel, this may be for one of the following reasons:

  • you have received paid holiday or holiday allowance during your maternity leave without letting Udbetaling Danmark know.
  • you have returned to work earlier than stated.

How to pay back money to Udbetaling Danmark

If you have received too much for maternity benefits, you will receive a letter from Udbetaling Danmark explaining what you have to pay and why. If you have received this letter, you can pay the entire amount in one lump sum by transferring the money to Udbetaling Danmark’s bank account:

  • Bank: Danske Bank
  • SWIFT: DABADKKK
  • IBAN no.: DK9602164069172059
  • Remember to state your civil registration number.

Contact Udbetaling Danmark, Maternity/paternity benefits