The Danish Health Authority has listed who is at higher risk of serious illness with Covid-19, including people of high age, who are over-weight, who have a number of diseases or conditions or a weakened immune system. Applying an extended prudence principle, pregnant women have also been included.
Read about the specific risk groups:
Recommendations from the Danish Health Authority for people at higher risk
The Danish Health Authority has assessed that by far the majority of people at higher risk can participate in social contexts, including work situations, provided precautions are taken, including stricter hygiene and distancing. Furthermore, the Danish Health Authority has assessed that, in general, people at higher risk do not need to be relocated at work or work from home, even if they have contact with many people every day.
Employers have overall responsibility for a safe working environment, including that employees are informed about possible sources of infection, e.g. contact points, and that it is possible to take important precautions at the workplace to reduce the risk of infection. Information is available locally and can be accessed via the intranet (RegionH.dk), the Health Authority website (SST.dk) and coronasmitte.dk.
In work situations for which the Danish Health Authority recommends the use of personal protective equipment, such equipment must be made available by the employer.
Persons at higher risk, possibly as determined by their own GP or an outpatient physician at a hospital after an individual assessment, may require that specific measures be taken at their workplace. Employees at higher risk must be ensured the possibility of two metres distance to colleagues/clients/customers/citizens or similar, or barriers must be available (see below). Furthermore, long-term face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes or many frequent, short periods of contact face-to-face must be avoided.
Employees at higher risk should, in dialogue with their manager, make a specific assessment of their individual working conditions, including the possibilities to ensure distancing from colleagues/ clients/customers/citizens or similar, possibly by creating a distance using barriers, and they should ensure facilities to maintain hand hygiene etc.
If the manager and employee at higher risk do not assess that it is possible to take measures to reduce the risk of infection, the possibility of reassignment or relocation to working conditions in which distancing and hygiene can be ensured should be examined, including options for working at home. If conditions cannot be reorganised to suit an employee at higher risk, it may be relevant to report absent. The dialogue should include individuals' own safety and risk assessments of their usual work tasks/functions.
Employees at higher risk should not carry out tasks or functions at work involving care, treatment or close contact with a person or patient where there is a suspicion of Covid-19 based on typical and characteristic symptoms, or where Covid-19 has been confirmed.
In such cases, the employee at higher risk should be reassigned to another task or function. Any limitations on possibilities to reassign the employee should be resolved locally, and must not obstruct the employee from being reassigned.
Staff who live with a person at higher risk
Staff who live with a person at higher risk, e.g. a partner or child, will be treated in the same way as staff who are at higher risk themselves, see above.
Clarification from the Capital Region of Denmark:
This is a regional clarification of "Managing of Covid-19: Recommendations for people at higher risk" dated 12 May 2020 and it is based on the definition in the guidelines concerning "persons at higher risk".
The clarification is with respect to page 9 about people who are employed in the healthcare, social and elderly sector, and who live with a person at higher risk (this will also apply, however, for employees who are themselves at higher risk):
Employees who live with people at higher risk, for example a partner or a child, should not in connection with their employment:
Work at a test centre, irrespective of whether the job entails assessing people with symptoms and referred to a test, or testing asymptomatic people; and irrespective of whether they are employed in the health path at hospitals or in the society path.
Work with patients in isolation, irrespective of whether these have been confirmed as Covid-19 positive or are awaiting test results. This means that you can work in close contact with patients who are awaiting test results, but who are not in isolation while they are waiting. For example, this could be patients who are routinely tested in connection with hospital admission, or people who come for elective or outpatient treatment. This also means that the relevant employees can work with patients in isolation for other reasons than Covid-19 or suspicion of Covid-19.
Work with the reception and assessment of patients who have been referred to hospital admission or examination, and who arrive with typical and characteristic symptoms of Covid-19, or who have been referred as "obs COVID-19". If a patient – without a prior "obs COVID-19" note – arrives at an emergency admissions department, a department or an outpatient department with typical and characteristic symptoms of Covid-19, the employee should ask others to take over the reception and assessment of the patient.
Therefore, the employee may work in a department or a section with Covid-19 patients or "obs COVID-19" patients, provided the above is observed.
Employees with tasks involving patient transport, for example porters, should not transport confirmed Covid-19 patients or "obs COVID-19" patients who are awaiting test results, and who are in isolation, if the employees live with a person at higher risk, see above. Cleaning staff who live with people at higher risk, see above, should not clean rooms after Covid-19 isolation patients. Both groups can otherwise perform their duties as usual.
It is assumed that, in all work with patients, there is a situation in which employees can easily use the relevant personal protective equipment.
Employees are responsible for informing their immediate manager if they are living with people at higher risk.
Reporting absent for staff at higher risk and staff with relatives at higher risk
If it is not possible to organise the workplace or change other employees' tasks such that work can be performed in accordance with recommendations from the Danish Health Authority for individuals who are at higher risk of a serious illness after infection with Covid-19, an option may be for the employee to report absent. This applies for staff at higher risk themselves, and staff with relatives at higher risk.
During the period of absence, employees will not receive a salary, but they will be able to apply for sickness benefits from their municipality of residence. This applies currently until 31 August 2020.
According to the Danish Sickness Benefits Act, a number of conditions have to be met to qualify for sickness benefits:
The employee's doctor has to provide a medical assessment of whether the employee has a higher risk of Covid-19 infection. If the employee is a relative to a person at higher risk, the relative's doctor should document that the relative is at higher risk.
The employer should declare that it is not possible to organise the workplace or change tasks such that work can be performed in accordance with recommendations from the Danish Health Authority for individuals who are at higher risk of a serious illness after infection with Covid-19. On this basis, the employer will then relieve the employee completely from work duties.
The employee also has to meet the conditions for entitlement to sickness benefits, including the requirement for number of working hours with respect to the municipality.
Link to employer's declaration on relief from work duties:
Pregnant women from week 28
Applying an extended prudence principle with focus on the unborn child, employees with work functions with close contact with patients, citizens or children, e.g. treatment or care tasks, must be reassigned to other tasks with no contact with citizens from week 28 of their pregnancy. If it is not possible to reassign the employee to other tasks with no contact with citizens, e.g. telephone consultations or similar, and working from home is not possible in the function or with regard to the tasks for which the pregnant employee is responsible, the pregnant employee should report absent for pregnancy.