Coronavirus - new rules on deferral of holidays
On April 2, 2020, the Danish Parliament adopted new rules on deferral of holiday that cannot be held due to the corona crisis. The temporary rules allow employers to defer employees' holidays from the 2019/2020 holiday year (May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020), as well as vacation from the abbreviated holiday year (May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020) to be held in the subsequent holiday period. The measure is intended to ensure flexibility and the necessary working capacity during the coronavirus crisis.
Without the amendment, employers would also be able to change previously stipulated vacation days without notice if special circumstances made it necessary. However, this was contingent on the fact that the holiday could be placed at a different time within the end of the holiday year.
The new rules allow employers to defer the employee's holiday from the 2019/2020 holiday year and holiday from the abbreviated holiday year to be taken in the subsequent holiday period if the holiday cannot be held due to significant, unpredictable operational considerations because of COVID-19. The opportunity to postpone includes all holiday that have not yet been held.
This temporary initiative allows employers to enter into individual agreements with employees on holiday deferral. In addition, employers are also granted a unilateral right to impose deferral of earned holiday to be taken in the subsequent holiday period. The law applies, with a few exceptions, to all employees, regardless of other stipulated rules, including rules covered by collective agreements.
Significant, unpredictable operational considerations
The possibility of deferral includes both fixed and undetermined holidays, however, it is assumed that there are significant and unpredictable operational purposes of the deferral. It must be a force majeure-like situation that has been unpredictable and beyond the control of the employer. In addition, the labour of the employee concerned must be necessary to maintain the business operations.
Expanded right to defer employees' earned holiday
According to the new rules, the right to defer holiday is extended as follows:
- Holidays to be taken in the 2019/2020 holiday year may be deferred to take place in the abbreviated holiday year, i.e. from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020.
- Holidays to be taken in the abbreviated holiday year may be deferred to be taken during the subsequent holiday period, i.e. from September 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
The rules are temporary as they only apply to the aforementioned holiday. The amendment applies to industries where a current shortage of special labour has arisen as a result of many sick or quarantined workers or due to special tasks related to COVID-19.
This measure enables specific employees without loss of vacation to work during a time when the need for their work resource is urgent. This is particularly relevant in the health and elderly sectors, the police and certain other industries, which are experiencing increased work pressure due to COVID-19.
See the adopted law here (only in Danish):