The government has presented its legislative programme for the parliamentary year 2016/2017.(1) The programme contains a number of upcoming proposals for amendments within the area of employment and labour law, including proposed amendments to the Holiday Act, the Childbirth Act and the Public Servants Act.
An unintentional amendment to the Childbirth Act in 2012 eliminated the rule that an employer which does not observe the time limit for reporting pregnancy-related sickness absence with Udbetaling Danmark (the Danish authority responsible for the collection, disbursement and control of a number of public benefits) loses the right to reimbursement. The bill aims to correct this state of the law by once again depriving the employer of the right to reimbursement if the time limits under the act are not observed. Moreover, the proposed amendment of the Active Social Policy Act is intended to specify provisions on the cash benefits ceiling and the 225-hour rule.
The bill aims to adjust working environment measures of two sides of the industry. Among other things, it will replace the present branch work environment councils with trade associations for health and safety and strengthen cross-industry measures.
The bill will amend several different acts that regulate seafarers' rights. The bill will implement an EU directive from October 2015, which means that many of the special rules which currently apply to seafarers will be abolished or amended.
The bill will simplify a number of rules under the Childbirth Act. The bill will also allow for the digitalisation of the employment requirements and rules for calculating the right to childbirth benefits according to the same principle as applies under the sickness benefits system.
The bill prepares the ground for a more extensive revision of the Holiday Act, which will be based on an upcoming report from the Holiday Act Committee. The bill is intended to ensure that Denmark fulfils its international obligations in this area.
In the Toftgaard case, the European Court of Justice found that the rule under the Public Servants Act which provides that a civil servant cannot receive redundancy pay after having reached the age of 65 is not consistent with EU law. The bill aims to put an end to this conflicting rule. The bill will also amend the rules on early retirement for certain groups of civil servants in the police and prison service.
Among other things, the bill aims to develop healthy competition conditions through a requirement that the holder of a licence to operate road haulage or bus services must comply with the provisions on salary and working conditions for drivers which are found in collective agreements. The Agreement Board and Road Transport Council rules will also be amended.
The bill will strengthen the financial incentives for employers to create more apprenticeships. It is proposed that this be achieved by implementing special bonus schemes as well as an apprenticeship-dependent training contribution.
(1) The government's full legislative programme can be found here (in Danish).
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