2020 ushers in new laws in Denmark - The Post

2020 ushers in new laws in Denmark

Faster trucks, changing rules for the unemployed and more expensive plastic bags among the new laws

New laws come into effect (photo: Pixabay)
January 6th, 2020 2:27 pm| by Christian W

January 1 didn’t just usher in a new decade, immense hangovers and countless doomed New Year resolutions.

Loads of new laws also came into effect as the clock struck midnight and millions of kroner’s worth of fireworks rose and burst into the skies over Copenhagen.

New rules for the unemployed, pensions, trucks and plastic bags were among the new laws.

Check out 12 of the most comprehensive new laws below.

12 new laws:

Senior pension for the worn-down
A new senior pension initiative was ushered in that allows individuals who have been worn-down by a long working life to apply for early retirement if they have six years or less to go until they reach pension age. The person must have worked full-time for a total of 20-25 years and currently be in a position where they can only work a maximum of 15 hours per week. The senior pension provides 16,000-19,000 kroner – the equivalent of early retirement.

Price of nuts going down …
In 2017, Parliament ruled to gradually remove the tax on nuts and, as of January 1, it is completely gone. Supermarkets, such as the Coop chain, revealed that the price of nuts in supermarkets would decrease to reflect that the tax has been abolished.  For instance, a bag of nuts that cost about 29 kroner in 2018 will cost about 23 kroner in 2020.

… and plastic bags going up
As part of the government’s aim to reduce plastic consumption, the increasing tax on plastic bags means that the price in shops has increased from three to four kroner. The price of disposable plastic cutlery has also been jacked up by about 30 percent.

New rules on use of power
Parliament has passed new rules regarding the use of force. For instance, the municipality no longer needs to pre-approve the short-term detainment of a citizen in situations relating to hygiene. The new rules will particularly impact citizens who suffer from dementia or who have psychological disabilities.

Keep on truckin’ …
As of January 1 the speed limit for trucks has increased from 70 to 80 km/hour outside densely populated areas and on motorways. However, local authorities will still have the power to set speed limits on stretches of road where it is not deemed responsible to drive at 80 km/hour. The new rules also encompass trailers and campers.

but be wary of errors
Meanwhile, fines handed out to trucking companies and truck drivers for owning or operating trucks with serious errors will be significantly higher. Until now, the fines have been 1,000-3,000 kroner, but under the new law, truckers face fines of 5,000 kroner and owners 10,000 kroner.

Scrapping cars online
Car owners who seek to have their cars scrapped will have to do so without leaving a paper trail now because the process has been completely digitalised. The change will ease administration for scrap companies and make it more difficult to cheat on scrapping initiative payments. Reports have documented that upwards of every fourth car is scrapped illegally – to the detriment of the environment. Car owners can commence the scrapping process on Borger.dk using their NemID password system.

New rules for the unemployed
Previously, the unemployed were forced to check for jobs on Jobnet every week (at a minimum) to avoid losing their benefits. That rule has been axed from January 1 for unemployed people who are withing six weeks of starting a new job or a flexjob, going on parental leave,  taking early retirement, and receiving flex benefits or a pension. Overall, municipal contact with the unemployed will be simplified to reduce the amount of redundant conversations and meetings.

Poor families with children get boost
A new temporary child benefit will help tackle child poverty until a benefit commission has released its recommendations and a new benefit system comes into effect. The temporary benefit will be given to kids aged 0-14 in families that have been impacted by the unemployment benefit ceiling or the integration benefit. It will mean a 700 kroner tax free benefit per child in hard-hit families, 600 kroner per child of single parents and 550 kroner per child of others encompassed by the target group. Moreover, single providers will get an additional 650 kroner per month. The benefit is expected to help about 27,900 kids from 14,300 families.

Approval of work-related accidents
Employees who suffer accidents at work will have an easier time having their mishap approved as a work-related accident. Parliament has approved a law that means injuries that heal themselves and work-related accidents that don’t lead to compensation can be approved as work-related accidents. The changes relate to all new accidents that occur after 1 January 2020.

Obligatory pension initiative for public income
People who receive public income (such as kontanthjælp, dagpenge or early retirement) now get an obligatory pension initiative that can be paid out upon retirement. The state-sponsored contribution is at 0.3 percent in 2020 and increases every year to 3.3 percent in 2030. The payments are made automatically and will be paid out by ATP Livslang Pension.

Streamlining school absenteeism
New nationwide rules are in place that will aim to streamline the registration of absenteeism in schools in the form of a tick every morning for the younger classes and two ticks for older students, as students from grades 7-10 will also be registered according to their attendance of the last class of the day. Since August, headteachers have had to notify municipalities when a student has an absenteeism rate of 15 percent or more. Passing the limit can lead to parents losing their child benefits. In 2017/2018, over 15,000 students had an absenteeism rate of 15 percent or more, which is the equivalent of about 8-9 days ever three months.