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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-2020-9/787 Updated – measures in Denmark

Special Act on sickness benefits and flexible distribution of work

Særlov om sygedagpenge og fleksibel arbejdsfordeling

Country Denmark , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 27 February 2020 – 28 February 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Paid sick leave
Author Carsten Jørgensen (FAOS, University of Copenhagen), Anders Randrup (Oxford Research)
Measure added 25 April 2020 (updated 20 January 2022)

Background information

The Parliament has passed a special law granting employers and self-employed state reimbursement from the first day of sick leave for those infected or quarantined by COVID-19.

In addition, the government has decided to make the division of labour more flexible, so that companies can adapt quickly and avoid layoffs of employees. The scheme is based on the fact that, in order to avoid redundancies, companies can reduce employees' working hours for a temporary period during which they can then receive supplementary unemployment benefit.

Finally, if necessary, the government will temporarily expand the pool of funds for financing measures targeting layoffs by DKK 10 million this year. The money will be able to ensure quick and targeted action for people who lose their jobs as part of major layoffs caused by COVID-19.

It is proposed that the Bill will come into effect retroactively with effect from 27 February, 2020.

Content of measure

Both employers and self-employed are entitled reimbursement from the first day of sickness of a worker. The measure to increase sick payment entitlements is expected to result in considerable public expenditure, estimated at around DKK 1,650 million. The cost of the proposal will largely depend on the decline in the number of COVID-19 infected.

The funds additional funds to the "layoffs pool" are to be used case of major business closures or redundancies of great importance to a local area. The funds can be used by the Regional Labour Council to grant funds for initiatives targeting laid off workers.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

14 December 2021

The scheme was reintroduced on 14 December 2021 by law (LOV nr 2380 af 14/12/2021) stemming from a tripartite agreement from 23 November 2021. The law will apply retroactively in the period from 23 November to 28 February 2022. Applicants can apply from December 16. An employer is entitled to reimbursement under the Sickness Benefit Act from the first day of absence if an employee is in isolation as a result of infection with COVID-19 or as close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 in accordance with the Danish health authorities recommendations in this regard. Similarly, it is proposed that a self-employed person in the same situations should be able to receive sickness benefits from the first day of absence. Overall, the bill is estimated with considerable uncertainty to entail additional costs for the public sector of approx. DKK 445 million 2021 and approx. DKK 658 million in 2022 after tax and setbacks. The reintroduction is interconnected with the reintroduction of case DK-2020-40/1704 .

01 July 2021

The extended rule under the act of sickness benefits will be lifted from the first of July 2021. Employers will no longer receive refunds when their employees are sick due to COVID-19.

Use of measure


Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social insurance
National funds

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: Unknown


No involvement.

Views and reactions

No involvement.


  • 13 March 2020: L 135 Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om sygedagpenge. (
  • 14 April 2020: Arbejdsfordeling som alternativ til afskedigelse (
  • 25 April 2020: COVID-19 overview page Ministry of Labour (
  • 23 November 2021: Trepartsaftale om midlertidig suspendering af arbejdsgiverperioden samt ordning med barselsdagpenge til forældre med hjemsendte børn som følge af covid-19 (
  • 09 December 2021: Lov sikrer hjælp til virksomheder med corona-syge ansatte (
  • 14 December 2021: LOV nr 2380 af 14/12/2021: Lov om ændring af lov om sygedagpenge og barselsloven (


Eurofound (2020), Special Act on sickness benefits and flexible distribution of work, measure DK-2020-9/787 (measures in Denmark), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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