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A clean home became a costly convenience

April 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

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The first private individual has now been convicted of using a house cleaner without a residence or work permit. The Danish Supreme Court set the fine at DKK 40 000.

Some foreign nationals must hold a residence and work permit to work in Denmark. Otherwise, their employer will face a fine, regardless of whether the employer is a business or a private individual. This principle was established by the Danish Supreme Court in this landmark case.
A private individual had hired a former au pair girl as a house cleaner for 3 hours every week. That arrangement continued for about 6 months. But since the former au pair girl held neither a residence nor a work permit, the Danish Prosecution Service decided to prosecute the employer.
The prosecution asked for a fine of DKK 120 000, taking the view that employing a foreign national without a work permit should cost DKK 10 000 per month or part of a month and another DKK 10 000 per month if the foreign national is also without a residence permit.
DKK 40 000 fine
The Supreme Court agreed with the prosecution that the fine should be based on a monthly DKK 20 000 since the au pair girl held neither a residence nor a work permit. But, having regard to the fact that she had worked only 3 hours a week and that it would therefore be disproportionate to base the amount of the fine on the number of months commenced, the fine was set at DKK 40 000.
The amount of the fine was a compromise between the fine imposed by the two lower courts, where the fine had been set at first DKK 30 000 and then DKK 60 000.