Lockout: Dos and don’ts for AU employees

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Lockout? As in locked out? No, the rector isn’t going to lock the doors to all the departments, the administration, the libraries, the labs and all the other buildings on AU’s campuses around the country. Then can’t I just show up and do my job even though there’s a lockout? Well, no, not if you’re a member of a union.

2018.03.22 | Lotte Bilberg

We’ve put together an overview of the most important aspects of your obligations – and rights – in connection with the lockout, which – if it happens – will apply to virtually all AU employees. It’s important to keep in mind that:

  • The lockout may not happen.
  • The lockout would not apply to all AU employees; it would only applies to employees who are members of trade unions. Which means most AU employees, because most of them are members of unions. Employees who are not union members are required to report to work as usual.

The information in the overview is based in the guide to the Agency for the Modernisation of Public Administration’s guide to lawful labour disputes. AU HR is the source of any specifically AU-related information.

READ MORE: Strike?! Lockout?! What in the world are my Danish colleagues talking about?


Access to AU    

 

The Agency for the Modernisation of Public Administration, which is formally the employer of all state sector employees in Denmark, states clearly that striking/locked out employees are prohibited access to the workplace during a labour dispute.

“And this should be interpreted absolutely literally. You may not come to your office to work. And you may not work from home. As far as I’ve been informed, the doors of AU’s buildings won’t be locked. But if you’re on strike/locked out and you come to work anyway, you can expect that your manager will send you home. The management trusts that employees will abide by the rules during a lawfully notified labour dispute,” explains Lone Degn, a lawyer with AU HR.    


Keycards, computers, mobile phones and keys    

 

  • If your employer requires you to do so, during a lockout, you must turn in your keycard, keys and any equipment belonging to the university, such as a mobile phone or computer. Your employer also has the option of cutting off your access to the workplace network and your work email account.    

AU’s management has decided not to exercise these options at AU.    

“But of course, you’re not allowed to use your access to AU’s systems during the labour dispute. For a variety of reasons, I strongly advise anyone who is locked out not to work during the labour dispute. I believe that it’s important to respect the ground rules of collective labour law. If not everyone respects them, then the labour dispute becomes meaningless. And as I mentioned before, this is a lawful labour dispute,” says Degn.  


Maternity/paternity leave    

  • If you are locked out and you are on maternity/paternity leave or adoption leave when the labour dispute begins, you will not receive your salary. This is also the case if you are on deferred leave,
  • or if your maternity/paternity leave or adoption leave is scheduled to begin after the lockout has begun.
  • Instead, you will receive a subsistence allowance (dagpenge) from the municipality if your absence is work is due to maternity/paternity leave or adoption under the Act on Entitlement to Leave in the Event of Childbirth.
  • Your leave of absence will not be extended after the end of the labour dispute to compensate for lost maternity/paternity/adoption pay.
  • By law, you must inform your employer that you are taking maternity/paternity/adoption leave no later than eight weeks after your child has been born or your adoptive child has been received. If you haven’t informed your employer about your leave before a labour dispute, and the deadline for notification falls during the labour dispute, the Agency for the Modernisation of Public Administration recommends that your employer accept the notification of leave, even though your employment is officially as a consequence of the lockout.    

Holiday, childcare days and time off in lieu 

  • If you are locked out and your holiday begins – including special holiday, childcare days and time off in lieu – before or simultaneously with the beginning of a labour dispute, you do not have to interrupt your holiday, and you will receive your normal salary in that period. NOTE! Please note that a holiday officially begins at the beginning of normal working hours on the first day. However, a labour dispute normally begins at 00:00 hours on the announced date.    
  • If you are locked out and your holiday – including special holiday, childcare days and time off in lieu– ends during the lockout, the lockout will apply to you from that point in time. But please be aware that special conditions apply if you decided to take your holiday first and then time off in lieu afterwards: because if there’s a lockout, it’s the time at which you begin the specific category of leave that determines whether you take take holiday with pay on all of the days you’ve scheduled.
  • You can’t take holiday, special holiday or time off in lieu during the labour dispute, which also applies even if you made your plans before the labour dispute.
  • If you haven’t taken all or part of the fifth week of holiday before 30 April, you can ask to have your holiday paid out when then labour dispute is over. This option doesn’t apply if you and your manager agree to transfer any remaining holiday time to the new holiday year (the holiday year starts on 1 May and ends on 30 April).
  • If you haven’t used your special holiday by 30 April and you are on strike/locked out, you have the right to have them paid out after the labour dispute. This does not apply if you and your manager agree to transfer the special holiday to the new holiday year.      

Courses    

  • If you are locked out and you are taking a course when a labour dispute begins, in principle you must interrupt the course. However, your employer has the option of allowing you to complete the course, but you will only receive pay for the period before the labour dispute.    

AU’s management team has not yet decided whether employees will be allowed to complete courses taking place during the labour dispute, explains Lone Degn, a lawyer with AU HR.    


Salary

  • If you are locked out, you will not receive your salary during the labour dispute, and neither your personal or employee contribution to your AU pension scheme will be paid. Whether you receive strike pay/strike loans – and how much you will receive – depends on what union you belong to.    
  • If you receive employee benefits such a free newspaper or a phone subscription, your employer has the right to suspend them during the labour dispute. However, AU’s management has decided that subscriptions will not be suspended, and equipment will not be confiscated.    
  • If you have a debt to the public sector (back taxes, alimony, etc.) which is deducted from your salary, these payments will be suspended during the labour dispute.    
  • If you are not involved in the labour dispute – in other words, if you are not a member of one of the unions involved in the labour dispute – you will receive your salary as usual.             

Leaves of absence     

 

  • If you are locked out while you are on a leave of absence with pay, you will not receive your salary during the labour dispute.    
  • But if you are on an unpaid leave of absence, the labour dispute will not apply to you, unless your leave ends during the labour dispute. In that case, the labour dispute will apply to you from that point in time. Your leave of absence will not be extended after the end of the labour dispute (i.e. you will not be compensated for lost salary).    

Illness    

  • If you are on sick leave when the lockout begins, you will not receive your salary during the labour dispute. In this case, you must apply for sickness benefits (sygedagepenge) from your municipality.    
  • If you get sick during the labour dispute, you will not receive salary from your employer or sickness benefits from the municipality.  In this situation, you should contact your union.    

Union representatives, occupational health and safety representatives, liaison committee representative – and employee representatives on the AU Board     

  • If you are a union rep, an occupational health and safety rep or a liaison committee rep, you may not perform this function during a labour dispute.
  • Employee reps are suspended from the AU Board and cannot participate in board meetings during a labour dispute.    

Business travel

   

  • You can’t engage in business travel if you’re locked out. And if you are on a business trip when the labour dispute begins, you must interrupt your trip.    

The end of the labour dispute    

 

  • When the negotiating parties agree on a compromise, accept a draft settlement drawn up by the conciliation board, or if the government imposes back-to-work legislation, the industrial dispute ends, and you can go back to work as usual. You have a right to return to the position you had before the labour dispute.

Translated by Lenore Messick

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