The Danish Parliament has enacted a temporary amendment to legislation enabling employers to postpone employees’ holiday in very special circumstances.
COVID-19 is spreading quickly. In light of this, the Danish Minister for Employment recently introduced a Bill on postponement of holiday. The Bill was rushed through Parliament this week and has now been enacted. The amendment concerns all employees and applies to holiday which has or has not already been planned.
According to the amendment, employers temporarily have a right – in very special circumstances relating to COVID-19 – to postpone employees’ holiday to the subsequent holiday period. The amendment applies to holiday which should have been taken in the holiday year 2019/2020 and the short holiday year running from 1 May 2020 to 31 August 2020.
The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that employees can be ordered to work for a certain period if the employer has a particularly urgent need for manpower (as a consequence of COVID-19) without the employees losing their holidays.
”… significant, unforeseeable operational reasons”
The right to postpone holiday is conditional on the postponement being caused by ”significant, unforeseeable operational reasons” connected with COVID-19, and such reasons must necessitate the postponement. According to the legislation, the situation must be ”force majeure”-like and its occurrence must have been unforeseeable for the employer.
Further, the employee to be performing the work must be the one who has his or her holiday postponed.
Holiday can either be postponed through agreement between the employer and employee or unilaterally by the employer. If the employee suffers a financial loss because of the postponement, the employer must cover such loss.
As a starting point, the amendment is applicable notwithstanding any other rules regarding postponement of holiday (including rules set out in individual or collective agreements). It is possible to enter into a collective agreement or another type of agreement regarding the COVID-19-related situations where holiday may be postponed to a subsequent holiday period.
The content of the above is not, and should not be a substitute for legal advice.
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