Sickness benefits for a salary earner

If you are unable to work due to your own illness or if you have suffered an incapacitating injury, you may be entitled to sickness benefits

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Sickness benefits are intended to support persons with a connection to the labour market who are unable to work due to their own illness. The rules on sickness benefits are regulated in the sickness benefit act (sygedagpengeloven). 

It is a short-term benefit. In principle, you can receive sickness benefit for up to 22 weeks within the last nine full calendar months. Before the end of the period of 22 weeks, the municipality will revaluate your right to sickness benefits. If you meet certain criteria, you may be entitled to an extended period of sickness benefits. 

You can receive sickness benefit if you meet the following conditions:

  • you are unable to work because of your own illness, or if you have been injured
  • you live in Denmark, or are covered by Regulation (EC) No 883/04 on the coordination of social security systems;
  • you pay Danish tax on your income;
  • you meet specified requirements on a connection to the labour market (employment).

As a salary earner, you can get sickness benefits either from your employer or from the municipality. 

You must be absent from work due to illness for a minimum of four hours a week.

If you do not receive a full wage from your employer when you are ill, your employer in most cases must pay sickness benefit to you for the first 30 calendar days. This requires, however, that you have been employed by your employer continuously for the past eight weeks prior to your absence. During that time, you must have worked for at least 74 hours.

You also have the right to sickness benefit from your employer if within the last eight weeks you have been employed by your employer on several different occasions and you have worked for at least 74 hours for your employer. You also have to be in employment on the day on which you become ill.

After the 30 days, you can get sickness benefits from the municipality. In order to qualify you must fulfil one of the following employment criteria:

  • You are in employment and have worked for at least 240 hours within the last six completed calendar months prior to your first day of sickness absence. For at least five of these months you must have worked for at least 40 hours each month.
  • If you had not been ill, you would have had the right to unemployment benefit.
  • Have completed a commercial programme of study, which lasted at least 18 months, within the last month before the absence.
  • You are a trainee on a paid work experience scheme that is regulated pursuant to law.
  • You are employed in a flexjob.

The municipality calculate your sickness benefits based upon your weekly working hours and the average hourly income within the last 3 months prior to your sickness.

Maximum sickness benefit is DKK 4,405 per week and max. DKK 119.05 per hour (2020).

Start Access your sickness benefit case in ’Mit Sygefravær'

You must call in sick at the earliest opportunity, and no later than two hours after the start of your workday, unless you have another agreement with your place of employment.

If you do not call in sick on time, you do not have the right to sickness benefit, before your employer has registered your absence is due to illness. In some cases, where there is a valid reason for you to miss the deadline, your employer may still have to pay sickness benefit from the first day of absence. A valid reason could e.g. be due to a hospital stay.

If you are sick longer than 30 days, your employer will have to submit a notification via the digital solution, NemRefusion. You will then receive an information letter as Digital Post in your digital mailbox accompanied by relevant forms that you have to fill out online. 

Then, you must make your request for sickness benefits digitally in MitS ygefravær within 8 days of the dispatch of the notification letter and submit to the municipality.In order to access your Digital Post and Mit Sygefravær, it is necessary to log on with the digital signature, NemID.

If your employer does not submit the notification in NemRefusion, you will not receive an information letter in your digital mailbox. In this situation, you will need to contact the municipality yourself. You will need to apply for sickness benefits no later than three weeks after the first day you were entitled to the benefit. 

Note: If you live in Denmark, you will have to contact your municipality of residence. If you only work in Denmark, you will have to contact the municipality where your workplace is located. 

Start Access your sickness benefit case in ’Mit Sygefravær'

If you receive sickness benefits from the municipality, they will continuously follow up on your sickness case in order to help you maintain your job and connection to the labour market. 

You are obliged to participate in the municipality’s follow up and offer of services. 

You are also obliged to inform the municipality about any changes in your situation which affects your right to sickness benefit, e.g. if your sickness no longer prevent you from resume work, either part- or full time.  

You can inform the municipality on changes in your situation, e.g. by phone or e-mail or digitally in Mit Sygefravær. 

Your payment of sickness benefit ceases when:

  • You are no longer unable to work due to your own illness, or
  • When you have received sickness benefit for more than 22 weeks within the last nine full calendar months, unless you meet certain criteria for an extended period of sickness benefits 

You can lose your right to sickness benefit, if:

  • Without reasonable grounds, you do not participate in the municipality’s follow-up on your sickness and offers of services
  • You do not meet your obligation to report or document your absence from work as an employee due to illness
  • You delay the recovery process. 

If you do not agree with the municipality’s decision regarding your sickness benefit case, you can file a complaint to the municipality within four weeks after the decision. The municipality then reassesses your complaint within four weeks after receiving your complaint. 

If the municipality maintains its decision, the municipality will send your complaint to the appeal body, Ankestyrelsen.

Last updated: 26 January 2021