Maternity/paternity benefits in Denmark

When it comes to family-friendly policies and benefits, Denmark is listed as one of the countries that stand out the most. The country has a reputation for supporting parents who need financial and other kinds of support when living in Denmark. This guide will explore maternity/paternity benefits in Denmark - including the laws, regulations, and other resources available to parents.

Parental leave benefits in Denmark

In Denmark, parental leave and benefits are designed to give parents time off work to care for their children. Both parents are entitled to parental leave benefits.

The new maternity/paternity leave rules of August 2022 state that both parents each have the right to take 24 weeks of paid paternity leave. This means that both parents are entitled to take this leave, and they can split the time between them as they see fit.

The woman giving birth also has the right to take 4 weeks of pregnancy leave with parental benefits prior to the birth.

Maternity benefits

The mother can take maternity leave with parental benefits:

  • 4 weeks of leave before the expected date of birth (pregnancy leave)
  • 24 weeks of leave after giving birth – of which 2 of the weeks must be taken immediately after giving birth

Paternal/co-mother benefits

The father or co-mother can take parental leave leave with benefits:

  • 24 weeks of leave after giving birth – of which 2 of the weeks must be taken immediately after the child is born.

The total number of weeks of leave with parental benefits is 52 weeks (2 x 24 weeks plus 4 weeks leave before planned birth), but the issue of dividing the weeks between parents depends on the situation of one or both parents.

Tip: Read more about the specifik rules at LifeinDenmark

The Danish state pays parental benefits in Denmark through an agency called Udbetaling Danmark. The benefit amount is based on the parent’s salary and is subject to a maximum limit. 

It is calculated based on the parent’s average income in the previous year. If the parents are not living together at the time of the birth or adoption, or if a parent is a single parent - or is in another special situation, the parent is entitled to a different distribution of the leave period.

Other health benefits for new parents in Denmark

The health benefits available to new parents in Denmark are designed to provide support throughout the entire parenting journey - from prenatal care to postpartum recovery and beyond.

Prenatal care

All pregnant women in Denmark are entitled to free prenatal care . This includes regular check-ups with a midwife or doctor, ultrasound scans, and access to prenatal classes and counseling services.

Childbirth and delivery

The Danish healthcare system covers all childbirths - and there are no additional costs for the mother.

Postnatal care

After giving birth, new mothers are entitled to receive postnatal care, including check-ups to monitor the mother’s physical and mental health - as well as support with breastfeeding and caring for their newborn.

Overall, the Danish government provides various family benefits and support for parents after parental leave ends. These include monthly child allowance and subsidized childcare services such as for daycare centers and kindergartens.

Applying for maternity/paternity benefits in Denmark

In Denmark, parental benefits are available to those parents who meet the eligibility criteria. This includes both biological and adoptive parents. The criteria depend on your employment (salaried or self-employed) - or whether you are a student or unemployed.

To be eligible for parental benefits, you must have been employed or self-employed in Denmark for a certain period of time. Specifically, you must have worked for at least 13 weeks for your current employer - or been self-employed for at least 12 months before starting your parental leave.

Read more about how to apply for maternity/paternity benefits here

Unemployed individuals can be eligible for parental leave benefits if registered with an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse). Contact your unemployment insurance fund or the job center about the specific conditions.

As a citizen of another EU or EEA country, you may be eligible for parental benefits in Denmark if you meet these conditions:

  • You must have worked at least 160 hours in Denmark within the last four months before your leave begins
  • You must have worked at least 40 hours per month for at least three of these four months
  • You must be at work in Denmark the day before your leave starts - or on the first day
  • You must be with your child every day (being physically present)

Read more about the parental benefit criterias for EU/EEA citizens here

Applying for maternity and paternity benefits in Denmark is administered by Udbetaling Danmark.

Get a Danish bank account and NemKonto to receive public benefits

Lunar is a Danish, award-winning digital bank. If you become a user, you can open a free Danish bank account that includes a digital card as well as an easy-to-use banking app.

You can also open your NemKonto with Lunar so you can receive payments from the Danish authorities and welfare system – such as maternity and paternity benefits, as well as child allowance benefits.

With MitID, the sign-up process is easy and 100% digital. And if you’re approved, we can offer you an account within days instead of months.

Last updated August 18, 2023. This article is based on general information, and there may be special rules and circumstances that you should be aware of. This should not be considered counseling.