European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DK-2020-17/786 – measures in Denmark

COVID-19 recognised as a work injury

Ansatte kan få sygdom med COVID-19 anerkendt som arbejdsskade

Country Denmark , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 22 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Carsten Jørgensen (FAOS, University of Copenhagen), Anders Randrup (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Measure added 25 April 2020 (updated 30 May 2022)

Background information

The Danish government has taken measures to recognize COVID-19 as a work injury, if they are infected at their place of work. Minister of Employment, Peter Hummelgaard, opens the press release about the measure by stating his condolences over a nurse who contracted the virus and died. Thus, especially mentioned are workers in the healthcare sector, who due to their work are close to infected people and therefore are at risk of infection themselves. This means that the workplace is liable for any costs related to the disease, as opposed to the individual themselves.

Legal reference: VEJ nr 9210 af 21/04/2020 (Gældende)

Content of measure

The measure covers people who are infected by the COVID-19 during their working hours, as a workplace injury, which naturally emphasizes the healthcare sector as a particularly targeted sector, although other sectors are not necessarily excluded.

It is hard to say how much money is going to be put towards this measure, as the communication in the legal text also notes. The knowledge of the full extent of long-term effects of the COVID-19 virus is so far limited. It will also depend on how intensely sick the worker will become, which has proven to vary quite significantly.

Use of measure

As of 20 September 2021, AES has received 9,917 notifications about work injuries related to COVID-19.

As of 3 January 2022, AES has received 11,128 notifications about work injuries related to COVID-19. 1,429 are registered as accidents and 9,699 are registered as occupational diseases. The sectoral groups within Human health and social work activities account for over 50% with 6,203 notifications.

As of 23 May 2022, AES has received 14,725 notifications about work injuries related to COVID-19. 1,856 are registered as accidents and 12,869 are registered as occupational diseases.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Other
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The Medical Association (Lægeforeningen) and others pressured the government into strengthening the rules for compensation regarding the COVID-19 virus in the workplace. However, in a recent article it is expressed that Lægeforeningen does not find that the new legislation goes far enough in protecting workers from COVID-19 risks.

In May 2021 The Labour Market Insurance (AES) started up a new task force, which exclusively will be dealing with occupational injuries as a result of COVID-19.

Views and reactions

No involvement.

Sources

  • 22 April 2020: Vurdering af arbejdsskadesager om sygdom med COVID-19 (bm.dk)
  • 25 April 2020: COVID-19 overview page Ministry of Labour (bm.dk)
  • 27 April 2020: Læger frygter, at nye regler for arbejdsskadeerstatning efter COVID-19 ikke er gode nok (www.laeger.dk)
  • 30 April 2020: COVID-19 can now be recognized as an occupational injury (socialraadgiverne.dk)
  • 12 October 2021: COVID-19 og arbejdsskader (www.aes.dk)
  • 12 October 2021: AES opretter COVID-19 task force (www.aes.dk)
  • 23 May 2022: Tal for anmeldte arbejdsskader relateret til COVID-19 (www.aes.dk)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 recognised as a work injury, measure DK-2020-17/786 (measures in Denmark), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DK-2020-17_786.html

Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

19 May 2022

 

Working life in the COVID-19 pandemic 2021

This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries (the 27 EU Member States and Norway).

Publication

24 June 2020

 

COVID-19: Policy responses across Europe

This report aims to present an overview of both large-scale government measures and collective agreements that impact on large groups of workers.

16 June 2022

 

COVID-19 in the workplace: Employer's responsibility to ensure a safe workplace

Throughout 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific occupational health and safety rules were reintroduced due to increases in infection rates.

Article

16 June 2022

 

Back to work after COVID-19: Testing, vaccines and green certificates

In the second pandemic year 2021, access to one's place of work was increasingly dependent on providing proof of either having been tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in several countries.

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.