Collective agreements between the trade unions and employers’ organisations define conditions of service for teachers. The Local Government Denmark (Kommunernes Landsforening, KL) represents the employers in early childhood education and care institutions and primary and lower secondary school institutions. The Ministry of Finance represents the employers in upper secondary and vocational education institutions. The involved unions are:
- The Danish Union of Social Educators (BUPL) for pedagogues.
- Danish Union of Teachers (Danmarks Lærerforening) for Folkeskole teachers.
- The Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers (Gymnasieskolernes Lærerforening, GL) for teachers in upper secondary school.
- The Danish Education Association (Uddannelsesforbundet) for teachers in upper secondary and vocational education.
The Ministry of Finance determines the overall financial framework.
The planning policy for staffing and employment in education is decentralised and is generally up to the local authority or individual school to decide.
However, to clarify the future teacher supply and demand, top-level authorities and Local Government Denmark do make forecasts. E.g., in 2017 the Ministry of Children and Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science provided a forecast on the long-term need for ISCED 1 & 2 teachers.
Entry to the profession
Local-level authorities (the municipalities) are employers for pedagogues in early childhood education and care, teachers in primary education and lower secondary education (ISCED 0, 1 and 2). In upper secondary education (ISCED 3), the institutions are self-governing and employ their own staff.
The standard recruitment procedure is ‘Open recruitment’. The local authorities/institutions advertise the vacancies publicly in or on relevant fora.
There is no centrally organised induction programme.
At all ISCED levels, the majority of pedagogues and teachers are employees on a contractual status. i.e., teachers are employed by the local school authorities/institution on a contractual basis in accordance with general employment legislation.
A teacher is employed on indefinite or fixed-term conditions.
Both certified and non-certified teachers can replace a teacher for a temporary period. If the reason for replacing a teacher is due to longer absence, the replacement teacher typically is employed on a fixed term contract. A fixed-term contract must specify the final date of the contractual period.
In general, there are no official support measures for teachers in the Danish educational system. The individual institution decides its own support initiatives.
Teachers’ salaries are determined in accordance with the collective labour agreements in all ISCED levels. Salaries for pedagogues, teachers in primary school and lower secondary schools (Folkeskolen) consist of:
- A base salary that covers basic skills of graduated teachers. Supplements to the base salary depends on the location of the municipality (area). The base salary is agreed on in the collective bargaining.
- Salary supplements depending on the teachers’ qualifications and years of experience. The qualification supplement is determined on decentralised level.
- Salary supplements depending on position and responsibility. This supplement is also determined on decentralised level.
The salary is divided into salary scale points. E.g. in the municipal salary system, there are 56 scale points. The higher salary scale point, the higher salary. The employee’s qualifications, position and years of experience determine the teachers' scale points.
The salary ranges are revised annually.
Working time and holidays
The average number of weekly working hours for full time teachers and other school staff are 37. It sums up to 1924 hours yearly.
Usually, Danish schools have 200 school days (40 weeks) in total and 166 years days of holidays, public holidays and weekends.
Teachers are covered by the Holiday Act. The act entitles employees to 6 weeks of fully paid holidays each calendar year.
In general, the schools expect that teachers place 5 out of their 6 holiday weeks in connection with the school holidays when the institutions are closed.
There is no automatic promotion to management functions in the different levels of education.
Mobility and transfers
There is no official regulation of teacher mobility between schools. Teachers initiate mobility themselves by applying directly to schools in response to advertised vacancies.
The regulation of pedagogues’ and teachers’ dismissal is the same as for other employees.
The employer must notify the teacher and the teacher’s organisation in writing about a dismissal and the reason for the dismissal.
Notice of a dismissal varies according to the length of service. It is
- 1 month as newly appointed
- 3 months after 6 months of employment
- 6 months after 8 years and 7 months of employment.
If a teacher wants to leave his/her position, he/she must notify the employer one month prior to leaving.
Retirement and pensions
There is no official retirement age in Denmark.
The retirement conditions and pensions are determined in accordance with the individual collective labour agreements.
Danish Education Association, 2020. Uddannelsesforbundet. (Accessed: 26.10.2020).
Danish Federation of Early Childhood Teachers and Youth Educators (BUPL), 2020. BUPL. (Accessed: 26.10.2020).
Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers (GL), 2020. About GL. (Accessed: 26.10.2020).
Danish Union of Teachers (DLF), 2020. The Folkeskole. (Accessed: 26.10.2020).
European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2020. Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe – 2018/19. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Legal Information, 2021. The Holiday Act. (Bekendtgørelse af lov om ferie). (Accessed: 24.06.2022).
Ministry of Children and Education, 2020. Total lenght of teaching. (Undervisningens samlede længde). (Accessed: 26.10.2020).
Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2017. Supply and demand of teacher skills in Folkeskolen). (Udbud af og efterspørgsel på fagkompetencer i folkeskolen). (Accessed: 26.10.2020).