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Rules concerning fertility treatment

Why should you inform your employer about fertility treatment? What rights do you have for absence during fertility treatment? And what does it mean to be specially protected? Learn more about your rights in relation to fertility treatment.

If you are involuntarily childless, you are entitled to paid absence according to the same rules for with regular illness. This applies to both examination and treatment. As with any other illness, you must try to place examinations and treatment outside of working hours to minimise the inconvenience to your employer.

However, you should be aware that the right to paid absence only applies to the person who is the cause of the infertility. If the cause of the infertility is not with you, you are not entitled to absence, but you may agree with your employer to use holiday time, time off in lieu or hours from the time bank if you need to be able to support your partner.

Inform your employer

For some, it is a private matter that they are in fertility treatment and thus they do not want to tell their employer. If this is the case for you, you risk losing the right to paid absence and may even lose possible protection from termination. Therefore, we recommend that you inform your manager that you are going into fertility treatment, so that you can agree together on how to plan it.

Get protection from termination

Once you have informed your employer that you are going into fertility treatment, you are specially protected under the rules of the Danish Equal Treatment Act (ligebehandlingsloven) in the same way as employees who are pregnant. This means that your employer cannot terminate you due to the pregnancy/fertility treatment.

It is your employer who has the burden of proof, which can be difficult to meet. This burden of proof is called the ‘reverse burden of proof’ and applies from the time you or your partner are pregnant or are in fertility treatment.

In addition to the reverse burden of proof, there is the shared burden of proof. The shared burden of proof applies from the time you state that you are undergoing fertility treatment and until the pregnancy is discovered and your employer is informed. The protection applies to both the mother and father, regardless of which one the cause of the infertility was. This means that you must first prove that your termination is wholly or partially due to the fertility treatment. If you can do this, your employer must then prove that this is not the case.

Read more about termination during pregnancy

Your employer can be reimbursed

When you are talking about fertility treatment with your employer, you might consider the possibility of using a ‘Section 56 agreement’. This agreement entitles your employer to reimbursement from your first day of absence, as opposed to the normal after 30 days of absence.

However, you must meet certain conditions:

  • The doctor has recommended the treatment
  • You have more than 10 days of absence per year
  • The treat was decided when you were hired

The agreement is made between you and your employer and must be approved by your municipality, and the agreement can be entered even if the cause of the infertility does not lie with you, but is due to your partner’s health conditions. The crucial factor is that it is you who are in treatment for infertility.

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