Employment as civil servant (“tjenestemand”)

A civil servant is a person employed according to the Civil Servants Act.

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According to the Employment form circular new appointments of civil servants are restricted to the following positions:

  • Permanent secretaries and similar chief government officials, judges, senior deputy judges, senior prosecutors, members of the police corps, governors of prisons, prison officers, high ranking officers in the military and civil defence forces, and inspectors of the fishery inspection authorities. Also certain positions in the established church.

The appointing authority determines whether the requirements regarding age and health are fulfilled, cf. section 4 of the Civil Servants Act.

The employment as civil servant can either be permanent, employment on probation with later permanent employment in mind or employment on a fixed-term basis, cf. section 2 of the Civil Servants Act.

During employment civil servants must accept the possibility of change within the area of their employment such as to the geographical locality of employment and the terms of employment, cf. chapter 3 of the Civil Servants Act. 

Upon employment, civil servants will receive a letter of appointment and an additional letter informing the civil servant of the terms of employment, cf. section 9 of the Civil Servants Act and the Employment Certificate Act.

Civil servants may, with 3 months' notice, demand dismissal by the end of one month, cf. section 27 of the Civil Servants Act.

There is no general compulsory retirement age for civil servants apart for a very few groups.

Civil servants are generally allowed to form and join trade unions and to engage in collective bargaining and conclude collective agreements at the same terms as other public employees. 

The most significant differences between civil servants and other groups of employees are that civil servants have no right to strike in connection with collective bargaining due to the national interest in the undisturbed function of the public administration. Public employees are also prohibited from lockouting civil servants.

Should a civil servant participate in a strike or work stoppage, it is considered professional misconduct pursuant to section 10 of the Civil Servant Act. 

Civil servants are entitled to up to three years’ salary if they are dismissed if the position is made redundant. Their pension scheme is a defined-benefit plan that is regulated in the Civil Servants’ Pension Act entitles them to a life-long pension scheme in case of dismis-sal for non-disciplinary reasons. 

No person shall be appointed a civil servant unless he/she be a Danish subject, cf. section 27 of the Danish Constitutional Act.

Individuals without Danish nationality may be employed under collective agreement terms or on the basis of individual terms.

In cases where individuals with Danish nationality are employed as civil servants, individuals without Danish nationality will be employed on terms corresponding to those of civil servants, cf. section 58 c of the Civil Servants Act. With respect to pensions, they will also be treated like civil servants.

In general, there is no requirement of Danish nationality in connection with appointments in central government administration. However, there are exceptions with regard to certain positions within the area of the Ministry of Defence and with regard to the appointment as judges and police officers.

The utilization of civil servants-employment, individual terms and employment conditions are regulated in the Civil Servants Act, the Civil Servants’ Pension Act, in collective agreements and to some extent in the Danish Constitutional Act.

Civil servants are also covered by the general labour market legislation apart from the Salaried Employees Act.

The Civil Servants Act and the Civil Servants’ Pension Act regulate the conditions regarding appointment, official duties, disciplinary proceedings, dismissal and pension.

Wages and working time are determined by collective agreement between the Minister of Taxation and the trade unions, cf. section 45 of the Civil Servants Act. 

For further information regarding conditions of employment for example regarding holiday and maternity leave see article

Last updated: 03 April 2024