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What about my holiday if an industrial dispute is ongoing? What should I live on when I do not receive any salary? Can I change jobs? You can get the answers to this and much else in the industrial dispute guide.
When you start or engage in an industrial dispute
If collective bargaining negotiations in the private sector break down, or the result of the negotiations is rejected by the voting members, we are in the middle of a major conflict. Here is a short review of what will happen - step by step.
If an industrial dispute starts, the notice may be only a few days. It is therefore important that you keep updated through newspapers, TV, radio, web pages or at hk.dk/ok2023
If there is a risk that we end in a dispute, or if we know that it is coming, you will be informed through your local HK branch. You can also ask your trade union representative, who keeps in close contact with HK.
On the first day of the dispute, you must appear and register in HK's industrial dispute system. Your local HK branch will inform you of where registration takes place. Remember your health card (sundhedskort). That will make registration much easier!
Please notice that it can take up to 24 hours after your registration before you can apply for dispute compensation.
You apply for dispute compensation at Mithk.dk - login with your HK pin code or MitID.
Click on the "Dispute" icon and follow the instructions.
In order for HK to calculate how much dispute compensation you are going to receive, HK must have documentation in the form of your payslips.
If your monthly salary is fixed, HK needs your most recent payslip.
If your monthly salary varies, HK needs the three most recent payslips.
If you are newly hired, HK needs your contract of employment and perhaps your work schedule.
If you store your payslips digitally, such as in E-box, you can find them there once you have been registered.
As a member of HK Handel, you are ensured dispute compensation in case your enterprise is selected for conflict or your employer locks you out. The dispute compensation corresponds to your usual salary less the employer's pension contribution and the labour market contribution.
When you receive dispute compensation, you are obliged to participate in the activities organised by your local HK branch during the dispute. That may be circulation of materials on the dispute during industrial arrangements or blockades in front of enterprises having locked out employees.
Immediately after your employer has asked you to leave the enterprise, you must contact your local HK branch at +45 7011 4545.
Time off in lieu: If you are taking time off in lieu when the dispute becomes effective, you are permitted to take the agreed time off in lieu. Afterwards, you must at once register as involved in a dispute.
Childbirth: If you are on maternity leave, your leave continues, but you must apply for maternity / paternity allowance with Udbetaling Danmark. For the share of the maternity leave in which you are entitled to full salary, the allowance will be supplemented by dispute compensation.
Holidays: If you are on holiday or if your holiday starts no later than when the dispute commences, you are entitled to take your holidays. All other holidays are cancelled.
Dismissal: If you are in a notice period, you participate in the dispute on equal terms with other HK members. If your notice period ends while the dispute is ongoing, you must register with the job centre and you are then released from the dispute.
Illness: If you are absent due to illness when the dispute commences, your employer must pay sick pay until you report fit to return to work. After reporting fit for duty, you join the dispute.
Answers to questions about dispute
If you don't find the answer here, you can call your local HK-branch.
Your a-kasse (the unemployment fund) does not pay dispute compensation. Your union will pay dispute compensation if you become involved in a dispute. You must have been a paying member of HK for at least a month to receive dispute compensation.
Whether you are involved in a dispute - and whether you have the right to dispute compensation - depends solely on your union membership.
In preparation for any industrial dispute, you will receive information from your local HK branch on how to appear and register.
When the dispute enters into force, you must, together with the members selected for dispute, appear in the HK branch or other agreed location and register in order to get dispute compensation:
At the meeting place you will:
Be registered as being on strike or subject to lockout and fill in an application for dispute compensation at MitHK.
Get relevant information about which activities the branch has planned during the dispute. As a member you are obliged to participate in the activities of the branch. You may lose the right to dispute compensation if you do not participate in the local activities during the dispute.
If your enterprise goes bankrupt during the dispute, you are not entitled to cover from Lønmodtagernes Garantifond (the Employees Guarantee Fund). HK will instead cover the loss that the Employees Guarantee Fund should have covered.
If you are an employee representative on the company's board of directors, you cannot participate in board work as long as the dispute lasts. On cessation of the dispute, you rejoin the board of directors.
When the dispute ends, you will be informed by your union representative or your local HK branch. You must then turn up for work as usual.
You are not entitled to absence with pay on a child's first and second day of sickness during the dispute. If your child becomes ill during the dispute, you must contact your local HK branch.
If you are on a course or undergoing education during the dispute, you are permitted to complete your education process. If your education process ends while the dispute is ongoing, you are immediately involved in the dispute and then receive dispute compensation.
If you have agreed with your employer that you receive full salary in the course period, your employer is not obliged to comply with this agreement as long as the dispute lasts. Instead, you will get VEU compensation, corresponding to the unemployment benefit rate.
If you are taking an education that is financed by the competency fund (Kompetencefonden), you will still receive pay reimbursement and be involved in the dispute as soon as the education period is completed.
If a member dies during the dispute, the relatives are not entitled to early retirement benefit (under section 8 of the Danish Salaried Employees Act) from the employer. Here, HK takes over the obligation if the conditions of the Danish Salaried Employees Act have otherwise been met.
Your own resignation
If you want to give notice terminate your employment while a dispute is ongoing, you must do so at your usual notice.
If you are a salaried employee, the termination notice must be given under section 2 of the Danish Salaried Employees Act.
If you are not a salaried employee, the termination notice must be given under the notice periods set out in the collective agreement.
What to write your employer:
"Notwithstanding the contents of any frustration clause in connection with cessation of the ongoing dispute, I hereby inform you that I do not wish to continue my employment after [insert date] or at the end of [insert month].
Thus, this should be considered due notice of termination of my employment contract.
If the dispute is ended before the end of the notice period, I will of course resume work from the time of cessation of the dispute and until [insert date]."
NB! For the sake of good order, you should give your notice of termination in writing, for example via email, to both your manager and the HR department, if relevant. If your employer raises any objections to the notice of termination, you should contact your HK branch.
Dismissed by your employer
If you have been dismissed but are still employed when the dispute commences, you are involved in the dispute. You will receive dispute compensation for duration of the dispute.
When the dispute ceases, you continue your notice period.
If your notice period expires before the dispute ends, you must register as unemployed and you withdraw from the dispute.
This also applies if you have been suspended or released from the duty to work during the notice period.
When the enterprise in which you are employed has been selected for dispute, or your employer has locked you out, you can obtain dispute compensation if you fulfil the conditions. You must apply for dispute compensation in HK's dispute compensation system via MitHK.dk. You will be informed in more detail of when you can apply for dispute compensation.
When you apply, you must state your monthly salary and upload your most recent payslip.
If your monthly salary varies, you must upload the three most recent payslips.
If you are newly hired, you must upload your contract of employment and any work schedule, if you have that.
The dispute compensation corresponds to your usual salary with qualification allowances and functional allowances and fixed, foreseeable allowances (allowance for night work, weekend allowance, allowance for evening work etc.). No extra work, overtime work, holiday allowance, pension contribution etc. is included. If your salary varies, the dispute compensation will be calculated as an average of the salary over the past three months. Out of the dispute compensation, A-tax is paid, but not labour market contributions.
If you think that there are errors in the calculation of your dispute compensation, you must contact your local HK branch. If you receive pay of too much dispute compensation, HK may demand that you repay the excess amount.
You can receive an early-retirement certificate or accept early retirement even if you do not receive unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund due to the dispute.
If you work at the same time as receiving the early retirement benefit, you will get dispute compensation corresponding to your loss of income when you participated in the dispute.
NB! There will still be a set-off against your early retirement benefit even if you do not have earned income during the dispute. Contact the unemployment fund to hear more about the calculation.
When you are involved in a dispute, your employment relationship has in principle ceased. However, you must be ready to resume work immediately when the dispute is over.
In special emergency situations, enterprises can obtain exemption from a dispute. Exemptions are given for e.g. care of sick persons, other functions in hospitals, sale of vital medicine, care for and slaughtering of animals.
Your local HK branch will be informed by the HK Handel sector of which enterprises and which job functions have obtained exemption.
You may not undertake job assignments covered by the dispute. If you are in doubt as to whether job assignments or an area are covered by the dispute, you must contact your trade union representative or your local HK branch.
If you have undertaken work covered by the dispute, you can be expelled from HK, and you must repay any dispute compensation that you have received.
You should be aware that if you join HK again after an expulsion, this will generally trigger a penalty corresponding to 12 months' membership fee.
Flexitime schemes are suspended while the dispute is ongoing. Thus, you cannot use hours from your flexitime account or accrue hours in the account while you are involved in a dispute. The flexitime balance is saved for after the cessation of the dispute.
If you are employed in a flex job or with salary subsidy, you are generally covered by the collective agreement in the workplace and must therefore be involved in the dispute. If you are in doubt, contact your trade union representative or your local HK branch.
Once the dispute is over, you join your job on the same terms, as before the dispute.
As a flexiworker, you get dispute compensation for both working hours and the hours in which you get flexi benefits.
When a lawfully notified dispute has been initiated, your employment relationship is in principle considered as having ceased.
When the dispute has ended, HK and the respective employers’ associations will agree on a so-called "frustration clause" (in Danish: fortrædelighedsklausul). The clause describes the terms on when you and your colleagues resume your positions. The parties may i.a. agree that you do not lose the seniority that you would have earned if there had been no dispute.
If you are involved in a dispute and become unemployed, your employer must not pay G days. G days are compensation that the employer must pay for the first two days of your unemployment. The rate per day corresponds to your unemployment benefit rate.
If a member who is covered by a group life scheme through their collective agreement, dies during the dispute, HK will take over the obligation if the group life scheme does not cover the said person during the dispute.
The main rule is that you may not take holiday when you are involved in a dispute. If you have planned a holiday that starts after the dispute has started, the holiday is postponed until after cessation of the dispute.
But if you have planned a holiday starting no later than when the dispute starts, or if you are on holiday when the dispute starts, you are permitted to take the planned holiday. You should be aware that holidays do not start until the beginning of working hours on the first day of holiday.
During the planned holidays you must receive your usual pay – either holiday with pay or holiday allowance. And your employer is obliged to pay the salary even if the time of payment is in the dispute period.
Once your holiday is over, you join the dispute on the same terms as your colleagues.
If your employer refuses to pay salary during holidays, you can get dispute compensation which must be paid back when the money has been collected from your employer. Contact your branch if you encounter that kind of problems.
You cannot lose holidays already accrued.
But you do not earn holidays, holiday allowance and holiday supplement during the dispute.
In connection with a dispute, notification of holidays cannot be given at shorter notice than set out in the Danish Holiday Act.
You are not entitled to absence for family reasons or time off with pay when a dispute is ongoing. However, in certain circumstances the Danish Unemployment Benefit Act provides a right to unemployment benefits in the case of hospitalisation of your child. If your child is hospitalised during the dispute, you must contact Udbetaling Danmark to hear if you are entitled to unemployment benefits. You should then contact HK for the purpose of any supplementary dispute compensation.
If you are paid by the hour and not involved in the dispute, you are not entitled to salary if you are laid off. Instead, you have the possibility of applying for unemployment benefits during the period you are sent home.
Contact HK's unemployment fund if you are paid by the hour and are sent home.
If you are absent due to illness when the dispute commences, your employer must pay sick pay if you are normally entitled to sick pay, until the dispute commences. This also applies if your employer pays sick pay according to the provisions of the Danish Unemployment Benefit Act.
During the dispute, you are entitled to unemployment benefits, but not to salary from your employer, and therefore you must apply for sickness benefits from Udbetaling Danmark.
When you receive sickness benefits, you can most often also receive supplementary dispute compensation.
Contact your local HK branch to get assistance to apply for sickness benefits and supplementary dispute compensation.
When you report fit to return to work, you become involved in the dispute if it is still ongoing on the same terms as your colleagues. This means that you can apply for dispute compensation for the duration of the dispute.
If you become ill during the dispute, you will still receive dispute compensation as long as the dispute lasts.
If you are still sick when the dispute ceases, you must report sick to your employer as soon as the dispute ends.
Registrations can be made both before and during the dispute. Please note that the time of when you have joined is decisive for your entitlement to dispute compensation. HK Handel recommends that you become a member before 31 January if you want to be entitled to dispute compensation. You must have been a paying member for one month to qualify for compensation.
From the time when you become a member of HK, you will be involved in the dispute if your enterprise is involved in the dispute.
HK can reject your application for membership if you have previously been expelled from HK or another employee organisation, if you have worked as a strike-breaker or if you have otherwise worked against the purpose of the trade union movement.
KVU students, including laboratory trainees, who are covered by the Danish Act on Short Further Education Programmes, are covered by the collective agreement in the trainee period, but must not participate in any dispute.
If you are not involved in the dispute, but your employer chooses to lay you off due to shortage of work, the employee must pay your normal salary.
If you are paid on a commission basis, the rules may differ as, in theory, you have the possibility of achieving what was lost at a later stage. Contact your local HK branch for advice.
Generally, you do not earn length of service during a dispute. Neither in relation to your notice period nor to any other rights based on your length of service.
If you encounter financial problems because you are paid in advance or are employed with hourly pay, weekly pay or bi-weekly pay, you can apply for a temporary loan in your local HK branch.
Lockout is the employers' battle weapon and means that as an employee you are asked to leave the workplace and therefore receive no salary.
You are to report for work as usual and may not leave the enterprise until your employer asks you to. After that, you are involved in the dispute.
You can only be locked out if your enterprise has a collective agreement with HK and you are covered by the collective agreement. If you are in doubt, contact your local HK branch.
You are not entitled to pay from your employer if you are on maternity/paternity leave during the dispute. Instead, you must contact Udbetaling Danmark, who pays maternity/paternity benefits directly to you during the dispute. You should then contact HK to obtain any supplementary dispute compensation from HK in the period where you are entitled to full pay from your employer.
If you have done your national service and have been hired by an enterprise that is involved in the dispute, you get dispute compensation from the day when you should have started your new job.
NB! You must have been a paying member of HK for at least one month before the dispute becomes effective.
If you are to start employment in an enterprise involved in a dispute after the dispute has commenced, you are involved in the dispute from the time when you should have started your new job in the enterprise, and you are entitled to dispute compensation if you comply with the terms.
Co-workers who are not members of HK and thus do not participate in the dispute may not perform work covered by the dispute. If you suspect that this takes place, you must contact your local HK branch.
If you have several jobs, not all of them may be covered by the dispute. You participate in the dispute and receive dispute compensation for the employment(s) that are covered. A non-dispute-affected employment can and must of course be handled as normal.
If your workplace is affected by the dispute, you must not take another job that is affected by a dispute. But you are welcome to change jobs - read more under the heading "termination". Your dispute compensation will be regulated accordingly.
HK believes that your employer cannot ask employees to do overtime work to an extraordinary extent before a notified dispute.
If you experience this, you must contact your local HK branch immediately.
The main rule is that you cannot resign from HK once a dispute has been notified and as long as the dispute lasts.
However, this does not apply if you start a new job in an enterprise not covered by HK's dispute.
If you have resigned during the dispute, your resignation will not take effect until end of the month plus one month from the day when the dispute has finally ended or a new collective agreement has been entered into.
If you want to resign from the unemployment fund during the dispute, you can do so at the usual cancellation notice.
If you are paid in advance, your employer may in principle demand repayment of your salary for the dispute period.
If you are in that situation, you can apply for advance payment of dispute compensation. (see under loans).
When you are involved in the dispute, you are entitled to dispute compensation instead of salary from your employer, unless you do not meet the conditions etc. You must have been a paying member of HK for at least one month before the dispute starts in order to be entitled to dispute compensation.
The dispute may break out when the collective agreement period expires on 1 March, so if you want to be on the safe side, you should join no later than 31 January.
If the dispute is postponed, the latest date for joining to be entitled to dispute compensation will also be postponed.
If you are employed with salary subsidies, you are covered by our collective agreements. You therefore participate in any dispute on equal terms with your other HK colleagues.
If you are taking special holidays when the dispute becomes effective, you are permitted to take the special holidays as planned. After that, you join the dispute on the same terms as your colleagues.
If you have agreed on taking special holidays scheduled after the beginning of the dispute, they are postponed until after cessation of the dispute.
A strike-breaker is any person who:
has taken on work covered by a dispute
has continued to work during the dispute
has cancelled their membership of the organisation to work during the dispute
This applies whether HK or any other trade union has initiated the dispute.
Strike-breakers may be expelled from HK. And if a strike-breaker has received dispute compensation, this must be repaid.
A-tax is withheld in your dispute compensation, but no labour market contributions.
If you have postponed early retirement, the dispute may influence the tax-free premium that you earn by postponing the early retirement.
The tax-free premium is calculated quarterly. You must earn 481 working hours within a quarter to be entitled to part of the tax-free premium.
If you do not earn the required 481 hours in a quarter due to the dispute, you can lose the right to a tax-free part in that quarter.
In connection with the dispute, HK will come to an actual decision of whether compensation should be granted to you if you lose a tax-free share due to dispute.
If you sent by a temporary staffing agency with a collective agreement with HK and which is involved in the dispute, you are entitled to dispute compensation.
You are entitled to dispute compensation for the period in which you should have been in your temporary job according to your applicable contract. If your temporary job expires before the dispute ends, you must register as unemployed with the unemployment fund and you withdraw from the dispute.
These rules also apply to temporary staff locked out.
The temporary staffing agency may not send you to perform work covered by a dispute.
Temporary staff sent from a temporary staffing agency may not perform work covered by a dispute.
If the workplace of the union representative is involved in a dispute, no compensation for loss of earnings is paid during course participation, but rather dispute compensation, like for others involved in the dispute.
If the dispute starts before the start of the course, the course will generally be cancelled.
If the dispute starts after the start of the course, the delegate will immediately go home from the course.
You may transfer to another unemployment fund even if a dispute has been notified.
Transfer may be to any unemployment fund.
See also the section "Resignation from the unemployment fund".
The main rule is that you cannot transfer to another union once a dispute has been notified and as long as the dispute lasts.
An exemption is, however, if you move to another union that is involved in the dispute, or if you start a new job in an enterprise which is not involved in the dispute.
See also the section "Resignation from the union".
If you are hired for a trial period, you are also involved in the dispute. Your trial period has been suspended during the dispute and continues once the dispute has ceased, so that the trial period neither becomes shorter or longer than agreed.
If you are taking time off in lieu when the dispute starts, you must suspend the time off in lieu. If you are owed time off in lieu, it is saved and can be taken once the dispute is over.
Trainees in vocational training (EUD) and basic vocational education (EGU) are covered by the collective agreement but are not involved in a dispute. If doubt arises as to whether a trainee can receive training under the Danish Act on Vocational Training during the conflict, for example if the trainee is alone in the enterprise or without the person responsible for training, HK must be contacted.
If it becomes necessary to send a trainee home, the trainee must receive their usual pay from the employer during the period off work, and still not participate in the dispute.
In that case, the training period might be extended. The presumption for this is usually an interruption of more than 10% of the training period.
If the trainee has agreed holidays or must attend school, the employer must respect this.
If you are unemployed, you cannot be subject to a dispute and will still receive unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund*.
Supplementary unemployment benefits
If you are paid supplementary unemployment benefits in addition to your job in an enterprise which is in a conflict, the unemployment fund stops payment of supplementary unemployment benefits for as long as the dispute is ongoing. Instead, you will get dispute compensation as all other members who are involved in a dispute.
If you work in an enterprise, which is not part of the conflict, you can still get supplementary unemployment benefits*.
*Only in the event that more than 65% of the members of the unemployment fund are involved in a dispute, payment of unemployment benefits will be stopped. However, this will not be relevant, as the members of HK Stat and HK Kommunal are not involved in the dispute.
If you are owed salary when the dispute begins, you cannot demand payment earlier than at the usual payment time.
If your salary is not at your disposal on the usual due date for payment, you must contact your local HK branch.
If problems with your salary payment persist, you can apply for a loan from your local HK branch.
HK designates the enterprises selected for the dispute. If you are a member of HK and employed in one of the enterprises involved in the dispute, you will be involved in the dispute. If you are locked out, you are also involved in the dispute. You will be informed by your trade union representative or your local HK branch if you will be involved in the dispute.
You may not undertake work covered by the dispute within HK's or the areas of other trade unions. This applies whether HK is part of the dispute or not. Be aware that you may not refuse to perform the work until the dispute has started,
You may undertake work that is affected by lockout. This means work that is not performed because employers have locked out their employees. If you are in doubt, contact your trade union representative or your HK branch.
Your employer may demand that you hand in keys, access cards, mobile phone, iPad etc. when the dispute starts.
We recommend that you try to make an agreement with your manager on the use of working tools, such as the mobile phone, during the dispute.
If your employer seizes your mobile phone, the employer must ensure to report the corrected figure to SKAT, because as an employee, you should not be taxed on a phone that has been seized.
In the dispute period you receive dispute compensation from HK.
Work trial (virksomhedspraktik) in an enterprise that is involved in a dispute is not possible.
If you are already in work trial in such an enterprise, you are not involved in the dispute, as the collective agreement does not apply to you. The question is, however, if you are able to perform your tasks if all of your colleagues are on strike. Reach out to your municipality or the job centre if you have any questions or are uncertain.
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