Great Prayer Day has been removed as a public holiday – Are your employees entitled to compensation?

As of 1 January 2024, Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag) will no longer constitute a public holiday in Denmark. This will mean that the fourth Friday after Easter will be considered a regular working day.

This article highlights the main questions to consider in this respect:

1. What is the purpose of the new rules and who will be affected?

The Act on the Consequences of the Abolition of Great Prayer Day as a Public Holiday (lov om konsekvenser ved afskaffelsen af store bededag som helligdag) ensures that Great Prayer Day becomes a regular extra working day, and that employees who will have their working hours increased as a result of the abolishment of Great Prayer Day, will receive a compensation.

Employees who receive a fixed monthly salary or a fixed salary for another specific period, will receive their regular salary regardless of the number of public holidays. This will typically be the case for white-collar workers. These employees will be working an extra day due to the abolishment of the Great Prayer Day and will therefore be entitled to a compensation.

Hourly paid employees will not be entitled to a compensation. Hourly paid employees who work on Great Prayer Day will instead receive their usual hourly rate for an ordinary working day along with potential supplements for overtime etc.

2. How will the employees be compensated? And how shall the compensation be calculated?

To compensate the employees for the increase in their working hours, the employees will be entitled to a special supplementary payment corresponding to 0,45 percent of their annual salary, which is equivalent to the value of a normal working day.

The supplementary payment shall be calculated on the basis of the usual and fixed foreseeable annual salary. The following elements shall be included:

  • Base salary
  • Company’s contribution to a pension scheme
  • Supplementary payments that are included in the normal fixed salary, e.g., qualification supplements, staggered working hours allowance, standby allowance and on-call allowance,
  • Employee benefits not received during the holiday.

As a general rule, overtime payment, one-time payments, including bonuses, gratuities or similar, are not included in the calculation.

Employees, who are on maternity, paternity, parental or pregnancy leave in accordance with the Danish Maternity Act will be entitled to the supplementary payment, as if they had been actively working, regardless of whether the leave is paid by the employer or not.

3. Are the employees still entitled to compensation if they receive a day off instead?

It is currently unclear whether it is possible to enter into agreements with the employees whereby the additional compensation is replaced with an additional day off. It is therefore unclear whether the employees are entitled to the compensation if they receive an additional day off. The law does not explicitly contain a legal basis for deviating from the obligation to pay the supplement.

Due to the current unclarity, we do not recommend substituting the compensation with a day off.

4. Are employees hired after 1 January 2024 entitled to compensation?

The Act on the Consequences of the Abolition of Great Prayer Day as a Public Holiday does not explicitly state that employees hired after 1 January 2024 are covered by the Act and entitled to a compensation.

However, it is our opinion that employees hired after 1 January 2024, as a general rule, will be entitled to a compensation as well.

5. When shall the supplementary payment be paid?

With effect from 1 January 2024, this supplementary payment will be accrued.
The supplementary payment can be paid in two ways:

1. The employer can choose to pay the supplement together with the employees’ holiday allowance, which is paid twice a year together with the salary for May and August, or
2. The employer can choose to pay the supplement monthly coinciding with the salary payment.

For payroll reasons, we recommend that the supplementary payment is paid monthly with each salary payment, and that the supplementary payment is clearly outlined on the employees’ payslips. Many payroll systems have already incorporated a function whereby the supplementary payment will be separately outlined on the payslips.

6. Shall the employees be informed?

The employer has an obligation to inform the employees about the changes to the salary and employment conditions and must therefore inform the employees of the new rules. This can be done by either preparing an addendum to the employment contract or sending the employees an orientation letter of the new rules.

For administrative reasons, we recommend that an orientation letter is sent to the employees. Please be aware that if an orientation letter is sent to the employees in an electronic form, e.g., via mail, it is advised that you keep a copy of the mail, so you can document that you have in fact sent the mail to the employees and have fulfilled your disclosure obligation.

At LEAD Rödl & Partner, we can assist you with the orientation letter and further legal advice on the supplementary payment.

For further questions, please contact us!


Your labor law team


Alexandra Huber
Attorney-at-law, Partner

+45 5116 7494







Jana Behlendorf

+45 23 24 60 22







Navina Jegarubanathan
Assistant Attorney

+45 60 52 43 04

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