Social security


​As a seafarer, you are covered by special regulations on health insurance, sickness benefits and maternity/paternity benefits. Below, you can see what you are entitled to.

Health insurance

If you are living and staying in Denmark, you are covered by the public health insurance if you are taken ill after the termination of your service. This is also the case if you are working on board a ship that is exclusively engaged in domestic voyages.

The health insurance benefits include, inter alia, subsidies for health services abroad, such as medical assistance, treatment in hospital, medicine and dental treatment corresponding to the general subsidy provisions in Denmark. The subsidy for dental treatment is at 50 per cent.

The shipowner or the employer can submit an application to the Danish Maritime Authority for having the expenses refunded.

You are entitled to health insurance outside Denmark for a period of up to 18 weeks from the first whole day lost through sickness if you ​:​​​
  • are working on board a Danish ship engaged in international voyages
  • are staying abroad and have - during the last two weeks - been working on board a Danish ship unless you have, after the termination of service, had another work
  • is employed by a company and are staying abroad as part of your employment
  • are travelling to or from a Danish ship engaged in international voyages.

Sickness benefits

As a seafarer, you are covered by special provisions on sickness benefits if you:

  • are working on board a Danish ship not exclusively engaged in domestic voyages
  • are staying abroad and have, during the last two weeks, been working on board a Danish ship unless you have, after the termination of service, had another job
  • you are employed by a shipowner and staying abroad as part of your employment
  • are travelling to or from the ship if you are working on board a Danish ship engaged in domestic voyages.

If you work only on ships engaged in domestic voyages or if you hold your holiday/days off ashore in Denmark after the termination of your service, you are covered by the general provisions on sickness benefits - even though you are still employed by the shipowner.

During illness, you are entitled to receive wages (sickness pay) from your employer in accordance with the provisions of the act on seafarers' conditions of employment, etc. If you are ill at the termination of the ship service, the shipowner is obliged to pay sickness pay for a period of up to 16 weeks irrespective of the termination of your employment before the expiry of 16 weeks.

If you are not entitled to receive sickness pay, your employer must pay you sickness benefits for the first 30 days of the period of sickness (employer period) if you meet the conditions below.

  • You have been employed uninterruptedly during the last eight weeks.
  • You have been working for at least 74 hours during the eight-week period.

When your employer is no longer obliged to pay sickness pay, you can receive sickness benefits from the Danish Maritime Authority if you meet one or more of the conditions below.

  • You have been employed uninterruptedly during the last 26 weeks and been working for at least 240 hours during this period.
  • You are a member of an unemployment fund and are as such entitled to receive benefits.
  • You have contracted an industrial injury covered by the act on industrial injury insurance.

If this is the case, the Danish Maritime Authority will pay you sickness benefits. If your employer pays you sickness pay, the Danish Maritime Authority can refund your employer. The Danish Maritime Authority can pay you sickness benefits for a period of up to 18 weeks from the first whole day lost due to sickness.

  • After 18 weeks, the payment of your sickness benefits will be made by the municipality where you are domiciled. If you live in another EU/EEA country, the payment will be made by the municipality in which the shipowner or the employer is domiciled.
  • If you live outside the EU/EEA, your right to receive sickness benefits expires after 18 weeks.
  • If you have incurred an industrial injury and this is the reason why you are reported ill, the Danish Maritime Authority will extend the sickness benefits period until the National Board of Industrial Injuries in Denmark has taken a decision on your loss of the capacity for work.

Shipowners and employers are obliged to take out insurance for all employees. This means that all seafarers, irrespective of nationality, on board Danish ships are covered by the act on industrial injury insurance. Read more here.
 

Maternity benefits

Pregnancy leave (future and new mother)

If you retire due to pregnancy, you are entitled to receive wages (maternity pay) from your employer for as long as you have not found another job - however, for a maximum of two months. According to the order on medical examinations, you must work on board the ship when pregnant only up to and including the sixth month of pregnancy.

When your employer is no longer obliged to pay maternity pay, you are entitled to receive maternity benefits from the municipality where you are domiciled or from the Danish Maritime Authority.

  • If you are living or staying in Denmark, maternity benefits will be paid by the municipality where you are domiciled. This is also the case if you are employed on board a ship exclusively engaged in domestic voyages.
  • If you are living or staying abroad, the Danish Maritime Authority will pay maternity benefits.
  • The period during which you are entitled to receive maternity benefits from the Danish Maritime Authority starts four weeks before the expected delivery and expires 24 weeks after the delivery. The child's mother is entitled to receive maternity benefits for the first 14 weeks after delivery, but can choose to share the maternity benefits for the subsequent ten weeks with the other parent of the child; see below on leave for the child's other parent/parental leave.
  • If you are staying in an EU/EEA country, the Danish Maritime Authority will - after the expiry of the 24 weeks after delivery - transfer your benefits case to Payment Denmark (Udbetaling Danmark) for continued payment of maternity benefits, if relevant, in accordance with the general provisions of the maternity act. If you are staying outside the EU/EEA, you are no longer entitled to receive maternity benefits after the expiry of the 24-week period.

The right to receive maternity benefits from the Danish Maritime Authority is conditional upon you having been affiliated with the Danish labour market during the last 13 weeks before the start of the absence due to pregnancy and you having been employed for at least 120 hours during this period.

Leave for the child's other parent/parental leave

In case of absence in connection with the birth of your child, you are as a father or co-mother entitled to leave with maternity/paternity benefits from the Danish Maritime Authority if you are staying abroad and have, during the last two weeks from the start of the leave, been serving on board a Danish merchant ship. At the same time, it is a condition that you have been employed uninterruptedly by your employer during the last 13 weeks before signing off.

If the above-mentioned conditions are met, you are entitled to receive maternity/paternity benefits for two weeks during the first 14 weeks after the birth of the child.

Subsequently, you are entitled to receive maternity/paternity benefits for an additional ten weeks if the child's mother does not during the same period receive similar benefits or the like. This is the case irrespective of whether the child's mother receives benefits from Denmark or from another country.

After the expiry of the 24th week after delivery, you are entitled to receive paternity benefits for an additional two weeks (paternity leave). After the expiry of the 26th week after delivery, you are no longer entitled to receive maternity/paternity benefits.

Regulatins on social security