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There is a huge difference between being on part A of the 4+4 scheme and being on part B of the 4+4 scheme or the 5+3 scheme when you are on sick leave. Please see "Sick leave on part A of the 4+4 scheme" below if you are a 4+4 student on part A.

Notification deadlines

The relevant registrant at the department must be notified when the first day of illness begins. In case of illness lasting more than 14 days, the PhD administration must also be notified, as the PhD administration obtains refund from the public sector for employees absent due to illness.

Hence, notification of illness lasting more than 14 days must take place on the 13th day of illness, and both the department and the PhD administration (Bettina H. Acthon) must be notified.

As soon as illness has ended, the PhD administration must be notified. According to rules applying, the employment/enrolment can be extended if a delay in the PhD degree programme can be documented due to the sick leave.

If you fail to notify the graduate school of long term illness your enrolment/employment will not be extended with the period of absence due to illness.

Sick leave on part A of the 4+4 scheme

Students on part A of the 4+4 scheme may not be absent due to illness for more than four months within a consecutive period of 12 months. If the absence exceeds the four months, the graduate school will have to discontinue payments until you report fit for full-time work. It is therefore important that you keep the graduate school informed of the duration of your illness.

Part A of the 4+4 scheme is only a part-time enrolment as the total number of working hours must be allocated between the Master's degree programme and the PhD degree programme. It is only the PhD working hours you may report to the graduate school (Bettina H. Acthon in the PhD administration). 

  • 1½  years on part A: 0.5 FTE (6 months) for the master's degree programme and 1 FTE (12 months) for the PhD degree programme. This means that the average number of working hours for the PhD degree programme is 24.67 hours per week
  • 2 years on part A: 1 FTE (12 months) for the master's degree programme and 1 FTE (12 months) for the PhD degree programme. This means that the average number of working hours for the PhD degree programme is 18.5 hours per week.

If you are a 4+4 student enrolled for 2 years on part A you may be on sick leave for 4 months full-time (18.5 hours per week) or on part-time sick leave for 8 months (9.25 hours per week). The total absence may not exceed 4 months.

Salary and sickness benefits

  • If Aarhus University pays your salary while you are ill, Aarhus University has the right to be paid any sickness benefits that you would otherwise have received from the municipality.
  • The municipality can stop the payment of sickness benefits to Aarhus University if you do not assist in the municipality’s handling of your case.  

Employment requirements in relation to the municipality

An employee is entitled to sickness benefits from the municipality when the person in question is employed and has worked for at least 240 hours within the last 6 calendar months prior to the first day of absence and for at least 5 of these months have been employed for at least 40 hours per month.

See chapter 11 in the Danish order: https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2022/1263

Calculating sickness benefit

Sickness benefit for employees who are unable to work due to illness is calculated on the basis of the weekly number of hours during sick leave and the last three completed calendar months prior to the first day of absence.

Non-EU citizens

Your residence permit has been granted subject to a number of conditions. It is important that all conditions are met at all times. If not, you may lose your right to stay in Denmark. If you are residing in Denmark on the basis of a PhD student permit (PhD1 or PhD2) one of the conditions are that you must participate actively in the study programme forming the basis for the residence permit. If you are on sick leave this condition is not met and being on sick leave can mean that you lose your right to stay in Denmark. Please contact your PhD programme administrator or The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) if you have any questions in this regard.

Holiday during sick leave

PhD students (not employed at Aarhus University)

If holiday takes place within a period where you are absent due to illness, the department as well as the PhD administration must be notified well in advance. Please notice that holiday must take place on full time, even though the period of illness takes place on part-time.


Employed at Aarhus University (5+3 or part B of 4+4)

Illness is a holiday obstacle. This means that you are not allowed to take a holiday while you are absent from work due to illness. This applies to all PhD fellows at the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University who are registered as being fully absent from work due to illness. 
   If you return to work on a part-time basis, please note that if you inform the municipality that you have recovered from your illness with a view to taking a holiday while you are still partially absent due to illness, problems may arise if you subsequently wish to be absent due to illness again after this holiday. In these circumstances, the municipality alone decides whether this is possible. So you need to ensure that any return to absence due to illness is permitted before contacting the PhD administration about your holiday. This is to prevent the graduate school from losing the reimbursement to which it is entitled. 
   Please inform Bettina H. Acthon (PhD administration) of the holiday period in question in good time, as well as informing her of the municipality’s decision about returning to full absence from work due to illness after your holiday. 
   You are responsible for ensuring that the person who registers holiday periods at your school/department updates your holiday record in the AUHRA system.

Going abroad during sick leave

Employed at Aarhus University (5+3 or part B of 4+4) 

Our right to sickness benefits/reimbursements only applies if you remain in Denmark while you are absent from work due to illness. This applies to both full-time and part-time sick leave. 

An exception can be made if the doctor (for health reasons) recommends that you travel to your home country. The municipality has the final say in the matter. They may allow you to travel to another country if the departure is recommended by a Danish doctor for health reasons and the recreational stay is under permanent medical supervision. Be aware that different rules apply within EU and outside EU. We are not entitled to sickness benefits for stays with family members.

If you plan on leaving Denmark on recommendation of your doctor you must contact your social worker prior to departure in order to get his/her aproval of your plans. If the municipality does not approve your request we will lose the reimbursement if you leave Denmark. It is very important that we do not lose the right to reimbursement during your sick leave. 

Please let us know prior to departure if the municipality has approved your request.


No extension will be given for illness lasting less than one month which means that the duration of the absence must correspond to at least one month's full-time extension and be uninterrupted.

As a PhD student, you are enrolled/employed in a fixed-term position which has an expiry date. This means that your enrolment/employment period can be extended as a maximum by the period of time during which you have been absent within the original period of enrolment/employment. The extension of the enrolment/employment period will take effect when you report fit for work (full-time).

Example 1

This person has been ill for a period of 46 days (6 weeks and 4 days) but the absence only corresponds to 31 days (4 weeks and 3 days) full-time.

3.6.2018 - 18.6.2018 - ill 37 hours per week - corresponding to 16 days (full-time)
19.6.2018 - 18.7.2018 - ill 18.5 hours per week - corresponding to 15 days (full-time).
= 31 days (full-time)

The absence is a month and the PhD enrolment/employment will be extended.

If the person above had started working full-time for a day or more between the full-time illness and the part-time illness the absence would not be uninterrupted and we would not be able to extend the enrolment/employment.

Example 2

This person has been ill for a period of 63 days (9 weeks) but the absence only corresponds to 24 days (3 weeks and 3 days) full-time.

1.10.2018 - 28.10.2018 - ill 15 hours per week - corresponding to 12 days (full-time)
29.10.2018 - 2.12.2018 - ill 12 hours per week - corresponding to 12 days (full-time)
= 24 days (full-time)

The absence is less than a month and the PhD enrolment/employment will not be extended.

Your enrolment/employment ends during leave

The graduate school is not legally obliged under the PhD agreement to extend the PhD degree programme on the grounds of illness. However, we do have the authority to grant an extension corresponding to the period of absence during enrolment – subject to documentation showing that this absence has delayed the degree programme. The graduate school deals with all cases individually.

No extension will be given for illness lasting less than one month.

Your enrolment/employment can only be extended for the part of your leave that is placed within your period of enrolment/employment. If your enrolment/employment ends during leave, your enrolment and salary payments will stop unless you can resume work full-time no later than the day after the enrolment/employment ended.

Your employment can maximum be extended for a period corresponding to the period of absence which took place before your enrolment/employment ended. The extension will apply from the day you have resumed your PhD studies full-time.

Doctor's note

As of 1 November 2018 the rules for submission of the doctor’s note has changed for 4+4 and 5+3 students employed at Aarhus University. A declaration of duration (Varighedserklæring) must be submitted as soon as possible after the official notification of illness has been received.

PhD students with external employment (as well as 4+4 and 5+3 students employed at the Aarhus University on sick leave before 1 November 2018) must still enclose a doctor's note (Friattest) covering the full period of absence when submitting the application for extension due to illness.

The graduate school pays for doctor's note, if it is submitted as an electronic invoice. Please make sure that the following information is written on the invoice:

EAN-nummer: 5798000418271
Sted: 1231
Projekt: 12089
Aktivitet: 33997
Attention: ph.d.-skolen, Arts
Name: Your name must be stated in the electronic invoice.

Do not pay for the doctor's note yourself it must be submitted as an electronic invoice from your doctor!

Bekendtgørelse om elektronisk afregning med offentlige myndigheder

BEK nr. 206 af 11.03.2011

§ 5. Regninger til offentlige myndigheder skal sendes, så de modtages elektronisk i et format, der er læseligt for den offentlige myndighed og umiddelbart kan indlæses i myndighedens fakturahåndterings- eller økonomisystem. Fysiske og juridiske personer, der ikke har mulighed for at fremsende regninger elektronisk fra eget faktureringssystem, kan fremsende regninger via udfyldelse af en fakturaskabelon.

Send invoice: 

In case of chronic or long-term illness (Section 56 agreement)

If you are suffering from a chronic or long-term condition that is expected to cause at least 10 days of absence in a year, you and the head of your department may ask the municipality for a Section 56 agreement.

You can enter into a Section 56 agreement (in Danish "§56-aftale") in the following cases:

  • When your risk of illness is significantly increased by a long-term or chronic condition such as migraine or epilepsy, and the absence due to this condition is expected to amount to at least 10 days within a year.
  • When you are to be admitted to hospital or treated as an outpatient, and your hospitalisation or treatment had been decided on when you started your employment.
  • When AU has already paid sickness benefits due to the same illness for 21 days during your current period of employment, within the past 12 months prior to the hospitalisation or treatment.  

Application: apply on borger.dk or this Danish application form

For further information please contact Anna Plaskett at the PhD Administration.

Psychological Counselling Service

AU has entered an agreement with Dansk Erhvervspsykologi, a health advisory company, to provide psychological counselling for all the University's employees with work-related problems. For further information please see this page: http://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/administration/hr/workingenvironment/psychological-work-environment/psychological-counselling-service/

Work related accidents

Work related accidents must be reported by filling out an online form.

When the accident has been reported, the work accident team will go through the report and handle the procedure of sending the information.

Please note that pursuant to the Danish Working Environment Act, the employer (Aarhus University) must report accidents at work within fourteen days.

Please see this page for further information: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/administration/hr/workingenvironment/reportinginjuries

If you are absent/ill due to a work related accidents it is also important that you inform Bettina H. Acthon in the PhD administration if you are absent for more than 14 days due to the accident.

Rules and regulations



Aarhus University

The Danish ministerial order on sickness benefits  


The National Labour Market Authority

  • Employee absence due to illness - employer guide (The National Labour Market Authority's website): Danish version


Danish students' Grants and Loans Scheme

  • 4+4 part A:
    • No more than four month of absence within a contiguous period of 12 month. I.e. max four month of illness within the last 12 month when counting back. If the first period of absence due to illness lasts four months, the next period of absence due to illness cannot take place until one year (12 month) after the first period of illness.
    • You can not get an extension of part B due to absence on part A.
  • Ministerial Order of Law on SU - The Danish students' Grants and Loans Scheme: Danish version (afsnit II)


The Danish Cancer Society

  • Compassionate leave - leave due to care of very ill or dying relatives (The Danish Cancer Society's website): Danish version