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Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024 will be mandatory for employers in Denmark to enable employees to register their working hours. One of the biggest impacts on employers is the new legal requirement to implement an “objective, reliable and accessible” system for tracking each employee’s daily working hours.

Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

What You Need to Know about Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

Prior to Denmark’s New Time Registration Law which went into effect on 1 July 2024, Denmark already had established regulations regarding working hours and rest periods, largely influenced by the European Union’s Working Time Directive from 2003.

The EU Working Time Directive aims to protect employees’ health and safety by setting a maximum working week, ensuring adequate rest periods, and promoting a balance between work and personal life.

However, the directive allowed EU member states flexibility in how the rules were transposed into national law.

In Denmark, the implementation was considered relatively lax compared to other EU countries.

This explains why Denmark, as a member of the EU, implemented the EU Working Time Directive through various Danish laws and regulations.

A normal working week for a full-time position in Denmark is 37 hours.

An employee in Denmark can have a maximum working week of 48 hours on average, during any 4-month period, ensuring adequate rest periods, and promoting a balance between work and personal life.

Employees in Denmark are generally required to rest 11 hours during any 24-hour period as a minimum.

The rest period can in some rare situations be shortened to 8 hours.

However, despite these regulations, there were still concerns about excessive working hours in certain sectors and the need for more robust enforcement mechanisms.

What’s new?

Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024 will be mandatory for employers in Denmark to enable employees to register their working hours.

This new requirement for daily time recording will have financial and administrative implications for some employers, particularly those who currently do not record employee time or fail to comply with the law.

The new time registration law represents a significant step forward in strengthening Denmark’s labour laws and addressing some of the shortcomings in the previous regulatory framework.

It introduces several key provisions aimed at ensuring compliance with the Working Time Directive and enhancing the protection of workers’ rights.

This blog will discuss some of the significant aspects of the new time registration law.

The Purpose of the Law

Act no. 89, enacted in Denmark effective of 1 July 2024, serves as a pivotal piece of legislation aimed at regulating working hours and ensuring the well-being of employees.

Ensuring compliance with Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

One of the primary objectives of Act no. 89 is to ensure that employers and employees comply with regulations regarding daily and weekly rest periods, as well as the maximum allowable weekly working hours.

These regulations are crucial for safeguarding the health, safety, and well-being of workers.

  1. Rest Periods: Adequate rest periods between work shifts are essential for allowing employees to recuperate, recharge, and maintain their overall health and well-being. By mandating compliance with rules on rest periods, the law aims to prevent fatigue, stress, and burnout among workers.
  2. Maximum Weekly Working Hours: Setting limits on the maximum number of hours that employees can work in a week serves to prevent overwork and ensure a reasonable work-life balance. Excessive working hours can lead to physical and mental health issues, decreased productivity, and diminished job satisfaction. By enforcing these limits, the law seeks to protect employees from the negative effects of overwork.

Protecting the Safety and Health of Workers

The new law recognises that prolonged exposure to long working hours can have detrimental effects on employee health and safety.

Research has shown that working excessively long hours is associated with an increased risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, mental health disorders, and occupational injuries.

By imposing restrictions on the maximum number of hours that employees can work in a week, the law aims to mitigate these risks and promote a healthier and safer work environment.

By prioritising the well-being of workers, the new law aligns with Denmark’s commitment to ensuring decent working conditions and fostering a culture of work-life balance.

The Legal Framework for Deviating from the 48-Hour Weekly Limit in Specific Industries

While the new law establishes a general limit of 48 hours per week for all employees, it also recognises that certain sectors or industries may have unique requirements or operational needs that necessitate deviations from this limit.

To address this, the law provides a legal framework for collective bargaining agreements to negotiate exceptions to the 48-hour weekly limit in specific sectors.

These deviations may be justified in cases where continuous operations, emergency services, or other critical functions require flexibility in scheduling and staffing.

By allowing for tailored solutions through collective bargaining, the new law strikes a balance between protecting employee rights and accommodating the operational needs of certain sectors.

Consequences for Employers

With the implementation of Act no. 89 in Denmark from July 1, 2024, employers face implications regarding the management of their workforce.

Requirements for Implementing Objective and Reliable Working Time Registration System

One of the biggest impacts on employers is the new legal requirement to implement an “objective, reliable and accessible” system for tracking each employee’s daily working hours.

This is a significant change from the previous legislation, which did not explicitly mandate digital time tracking.

Employers will need to invest in technologies like biometric time clocks, mobile apps, or integrated HR/timekeeping software to capture clock-in/clock-out times.

Manual entry or estimates will likely not meet the “objective and reliable” criteria.

This new tracking obligation aims to prevent excessive overtime from going unnoticed and undocumented.

Having granular data on hours worked per employee, per day will make it harder for workplaces to fudge overtime figures.

However, implementing robust time tracking comes with costs – for the software/hardware, Training employees on properly logging time, assigning HR staff to monitoring, etc.

Smaller businesses may find this particularly burdensome.

The Mandatory Storage of Employee Working Time Data for 5 Years

Adding to the time tracking requirements, the law also mandates that employers store and maintain the captured working time data for five years after the period it covers.

This is to allow authorities to audit the data for compliance over longer stretches.

Businesses will need to ensure they have secure data storage systems and protocols for retaining the potentially large volumes of daily employee timekeeping records for five years after the fact.

Proper data management policies and technological capabilities will be required.

Maintaining Registers of Employees Working Beyond 48 Hours per Week on Average

For any Danish employees who have agreed to work over the standard 48-hour-per-week limit on average, employers face the additional obligation of maintaining separate registers specifically tracking this group.

These registers must stay up-to-date and be made available to Danish working condition authorities upon request.

The aim is to allow inspectors to keep close tabs on employees working excessive overtime, even if it is pursuant to an individual agreement.

Employers need to ensure their time-tracking systems can automatically flag and filter employees surpassing the 48-hour threshold into these special registers.

Proper formatting and reporting capabilities will be needed.

The Obligation to Provide Information to Authorities Upon Request

Tied to the registered data requirements, employers must also be prepared to promptly provide information and data to the relevant Danish authorities upon request as part of investigations or inspections.

This includes providing copies of the individual excessive overtime agreements between the employer and employees working over 48 hours per week.

Authorities will be checking if these agreements meet all the stipulated requirements around limited duration, employee consent, etc.

Businesses need to ensure they have proper access controls and processes in place for quickly retrieving and compiling the required data from their time-tracking systems when authorities make inquiries.

Having the data but being unable to efficiently provide it could lead to compliance issues.

Addressing Potential Limitations on Excessive Overtime for Health and Safety Reasons

Finally, one of the most impactful parts of the law gives Danish working conditions authorities the power to actually prohibit or limit employees from working excessive overtime beyond 48 hours per week on average—even if individual agreements are in place.

If inspectors determine that the extended hours pose a safety or health hazard, they can overrule any employer-employee overtime agreement and enforce reduced hours for affected workers.

While this clears a path to protect employee well-being, it also means employers need to be prepared for potential operational disruption if significant numbers of workers have overtime rolled back by authorities.

Contingency plans may be needed to re-distribute workloads and tasks if companies can no longer rely on certain employees working excessive hours that inspectors deem unacceptable from a health/safety standpoint.

Exception for Self-organisers

A limited exemption to the time registration requirement applies for certain categories of employees (“selforganisers”).

The exemption applies not only to the registration obligation but also to the rules in the Working Time Act on breaks, the 48-hour rule, and the rules on night work.

The exemption applies if the duration of the employee’s working hours cannot be measured and/or determined in advance, or if the employee can determine the working hours themselves because they can make independent decisions, or they have managerial powers.

The concept of self-organiser is not further defined in either the law or the legislative guidance.

However, according to the Working Time Directive’s corresponding exemption provision (Article 17) the exemption may apply to employees with managerial responsibilities or other employees who have the authority to make independent decisions, working family members, or employees whose work is linked to the religious actions of churches and religious communities.

The Commission has stated in its interpretation notice that the exemption provision must be interpreted narrowly and cannot apply to an entire category of employees.

Therefore, an individual assessment of whether an employee meets the requirements to be a self-organiser will need to be taken when considering the exemption.

If an employer considers that an employee is a self-organiser, a provision confirming this must be included in the employment contract.

Enforcement Mechanisms and Fines

It’s crucial to note that failure to comply with the rules outlined in the Working Environment Act could lead to fines and corrective measures enforced by The Danish Working Environment Authority – called “Arbejdstilsynet”.

There are two significant clarifications within the law compared to the original bill:

  1. Employees are obligated to register deviations from their agreed and/or scheduled working hours only.
  2. The law mandates the registration of employees’ total daily working hours without specifying the specific time period in which the work was performed. These clarifications offer an opportunity for employers to streamline the process for employees. Employers can pre-fill the total daily working hours, simplifying the process for employees who need only to review and approve the registration, adjusting it only in case of deviations.

Do you want to know what information is needed to make a payslip for employees in Denmark?

Different Solutions for time Registration

Different solutions for registration offer varying levels of convenience, accuracy, and security for compliance with Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024.

You must carefully evaluate your options and choose the most suitable solution based on your specific requirements and budget constraints.

Regardless of the chosen method, prioritising data security and employee privacy is crucial to maintaining trust and compliance in the workplace.

Electronic Timekeeping Systems

Electronic timekeeping systems are increasingly popular solutions for tracking and managing employee working hours.

These systems utilise software applications that allow employees to clock in and out electronically, either through web-based interfaces, mobile apps, or physical terminals.

Employers can easily track attendance, monitor breaks and overtime, and generate accurate reports for payroll processing and compliance purposes.

Additionally, electronic timekeeping systems often integrate with other HR management software, streamlining administrative tasks and improving overall efficiency.

Biometric Clocks (fingerprint, facial recognition, retina, etc.)

Biometric clocks offer a secure and convenient way to record employee attendance and working hours using unique biological characteristics such as fingerprints or facial features.

Employees simply scan their biometric identifiers at designated terminals to clock in and out, eliminating the need for traditional time cards or PIN codes.

Biometric clocks provide enhanced accuracy and security, as they are virtually impossible to manipulate or falsify.

Additionally, these systems offer real-time monitoring and visibility into employee attendance patterns, enabling employers to identify and address issues promptly.

Mobile Apps for Time Tracking

Mobile apps for time tracking offer a convenient and flexible solution for employees to record their working hours using their smartphones or tablets.

These apps typically allow employees to clock in and out, log breaks, and track tasks or projects directly from their mobile devices.

Employers can access real-time attendance data, monitor employee productivity, and generate reports remotely.

Mobile time-tracking apps are particularly beneficial for remote or field-based workers who may not have access to traditional time clock systems.

Manual Entry by Employees or Supervisors

Manual entry involves employees or supervisors recording their working hours manually, either on paper timesheets or through electronic spreadsheets like Excel.

While this method is simple and cost-effective, it can be prone to errors and inaccuracies, leading to potential discrepancies in payroll and compliance.

To mitigate this risk, employers must implement robust verification and validation processes, such as periodic audits and reviews of timesheet data.

Additionally, providing adequate training and guidance to employees on accurate timekeeping practices is essential to ensure data integrity.

Importance of Data Security and Employee Privacy

Regardless of the method used for time registration, ensuring data security and protecting employee privacy is paramount.

Employers must implement stringent measures to safeguard sensitive employee information, including encryption, access controls, and regular data backups.

Additionally, compliance with data protection regulations, such as The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, is essential to avoid potential legal liabilities and fines.

Employees must have confidence that their personal data is handled securely and used only for authorised purposes, fostering trust and transparency in the workplace.

Deviations from the 48-Hour Weekly Limit

Deviations from the 48-hour weekly limit in employment practices introduce flexibility to accommodate diverse industry needs and operational requirements.

Sector-Specific Exceptions to the 48-Hour Weekly Limit

While reinforcing the 48-hour weekly maximum, the law does account for certain sectors where temporary excessive overtime may sometimes be unavoidable due to operational needs.

This includes areas like healthcare, emergency services, and other critical societal functions as defined by the EU Working Time Directive.

However, rather than allowing excessive overtime on an employer-by-employer basis, the law sets a framework for these exceptions to be governed at a sector-wide level through collective bargaining agreements negotiated between industry labour unions/employee organisations and employer associations.

So deviations from the 48-hour rule would apply consistently across an entire sector like hospitals or ambulance services, not just at a specific workplace.

This aims to prevent a patchwork of inconsistent policies.

The collective bargaining process is meant to ensure employee representatives have a voice in determining acceptable thresholds and conditions around temporary excessive overtime policies for their industry’s unique operational constraints.

Understanding the 60-Hour Threshold

For sectors that negotiate a deviation from the standard 48-hour limit, the law caps excessive overtime at 60 hours per week on average, calculated over a 4-month reference period.

However, the collective agreements can extend this reference period up to 12 months maximum if there are legitimate organisational reasons.

This 60-hour ceiling aims to place a reasonable boundary even on “excessive” overtime – both from a worker safety standpoint and to prevent excessive overtime from becoming the new normal.

The reference period also allows companies to average out spikes and dips in overtime needs.

The calculation excludes paid vacation time and sick leave, so those absences do not artificially deflate the overtime averages.

There are provisions for collective agreements to go even higher than 60 hours in exceptional circumstances, but this would require robust justification around objective operational needs.

Employee Consent and Withdrawal in Deviating from Weekly Limits

Under Denmark’s new time registration law, even in sectors with negotiated excessive overtime policies, individual employees must explicitly consent to work hours beyond the standard 48-hour weekly limit on average.

Importantly, this consent can also be withdrawn by the employee at any time with reasonable notice.

So, no employer can unilaterally dictate that an employee must work excessive overtime against their wishes, even if the industry allowances are in place.

Worker choice and consent is enshrined.

To prevent retaliation, the law explicitly prohibits employees from being penalised if they refuse to agree to excessive overtime or choose to withdraw previous consent.

The combination of employee consent and the ability to change one’s mind aims to balance organisational needs with individual worker protections and work-life balance priorities.

The Role of Labor Unions and Employee Organizations in Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

Labour unions and employee organisations play a crucial role in negotiating and safeguarding the rights of workers regarding deviations from the 48-hour weekly limit.

These organisations advocate for fair and equitable working conditions, including reasonable working hours, adequate rest periods, and protection against overwork.

Through collective bargaining agreements, labour unions and employee organisations negotiate terms and conditions of employment that reflect the interests and concerns of their members.

They also provide support and representation to employees in addressing workplace issues, including disputes over working hours and deviations from legal limits.

Additionally, labour unions and employee organisations collaborate with employers and government agencies to develop policies and initiatives that promote work-life balance and employee well-being.

Penalties and Enforcement in Denmark’s New Time Registration Law for 2024

In ensuring adherence to labor regulations, penalties and enforcement mechanisms play a crucial role.

Violations of labour laws, including those outlined in Act no. 89, may result in various penalties, ranging from fines to legal sanctions, depending on the severity of the infraction.

Potential Penalties for Non-compliance

The new law gives authorities the ability to levy penalties against employers that fail to comply with the various requirements around working time tracking, data maintenance, and overtime regulations.

While specific monetary fines or other penalty amounts are not outlined in the legislation itself, the text does establish a legal framework and basis for enforcing compliance through punitive measures.

Some potential penalties that could apply to non-compliant employers include:

  1. Fines for failure to implement a proper working hour registration system that meets the “objective and reliable” standards specified.
  2. Financial sanctions for not maintaining or providing authorities with mandatory working time data records and employee overtime agreement details upon request during inspections.
  3. Workplace-specific orders limiting or prohibiting excessive overtime practices if violations around maximum weekly hours, improper overtime agreements, or health/safety risks are identified.
  4. Broader penalties like temporary or permanent loss of labour certification/operating permits for continued, willful non-compliance after warnings.

The goal is to create robust deterrents and give authorities enough enforcement teeth to ensure employers do not simply ignore the new time tracking and overtime rules.

By leaving specific penalty amounts open, the particulars can potentially be defined later through supplementary regulations from authorities.

Role of the Working Environment Authority and Complaints Board

Ensuring compliance with the new time registration law is not only a legal obligation but also subject to oversight and potential sanctions.

The Working Environment Authority (WEA) will supervise adherence to the provisions outlined in the Working Environment Act, with penalties for breaches detailed in Chapter 15 of the Act.

Some of the WEA’s specific roles and powers include:

  1. Reviewing workplace time tracking systems and data during inspections to identify any deficiencies or inaccuracies.
  2. Making determinations on whether an employer’s overtime practices, agreements, and record-keeping meet the legal requirements.
  3. Being able to outright prohibit or limit excessive overtime at a workplace if the WEA inspectors determine it poses health/safety risks to employees.
  4. Demanding employers hand over missing data or information about overtime agreements during audits.
  5. Initiating penalty proceedings and sanctions against employers for unresolved violations after warnings.

The law empowers WEA inspectors to be able to dig deep into workplace time data and practices to enforce compliance across all provisions of the new rules.

To allow for due process, the law establishes a Working Environment Complaints Board that employers can appeal to if they wish to dispute or challenge a WEA determination, order, or penalty.

This Complaints Board exists as an independent review path, providing checks and balances if employers feel WEA inspectors overstepped or made an incorrect ruling regarding overtime practices or compliance at their workplace.

While WEA inspectors have extensive authorities, the ability to appeal aims to protect against any potential overreach in enforcement as well.

Our Recommendation

In light of Denmark’s new time registration law, it’s vital for you to take proactive steps to ensure compliance and streamline your operations. Here are our recommendations:

Draft a comprehensive policy: We recommend drafting a policy for working time registration to be included in the employee handbook. This policy should outline the requirements for time tracking, including how employees should record their working hours and any exceptions or special provisions.

Identify self-organisers: Determine which positions within your organisation qualify as “self-organisers” and are exempt from the obligation to register working hours.

Update employment contracts: If an employee is verified to be a self-organiser, ensure that this status is clearly documented in an addendum to their employment contract.

Ensure GDPR compliance: To maintain compliance with GDPR regulations, send out new privacy notices to employees informing them of the time registration process.

Conduct employee orientation: Conduct orientation meetings to inform employees about the time registration policy, as well as the rules for rest time and days off.

(This blog was updated: 30.6.2024)


What is the purpose of Denmark's new time registration law?

The law aims to ensure accurate tracking of employees' working hours, promoting transparency and compliance with labor regulations.

Who is affected by this new law?

All employers in Denmark are required to implement a time registration system for their employees.

When does the new law take effect?

The law comes into effect on 1 July 2024.

What types of employees are covered by the law?

The law applies to all employees, including part-time, full-time, and temporary workers.

What methods can employers use to record working hours?

Employers can use digital tools, software, or manual systems to record and track employees' working hours.

Are there any specific requirements for the time registration systems?

Yes, systems must be accurate, accessible to employees, and compliant with data protection regulations.

What are the potential consequences for non-compliance?

Employers may face penalties, fines, or legal actions if they fail to comply with the time registration requirements.

Can employees access their recorded working hours?

Yes, employees have the right to access their recorded working hours to ensure accuracy and transparency.

How does the law benefit employees?

The law protects employees’ rights by ensuring accurate tracking of working hours, which helps prevent unpaid overtime.

What should employers do to prepare for the law?

Employers should assess their current systems, implement necessary tools for time tracking, and train employees on the new requirements.