Unemployment Insurance in Denmark
In contrast to most other countries in Europe, unemployment insurance in Denmark is voluntary. If you wish to insure yourself against unemployment, you will have to purchase your own through one of the government sanctioned unemployment insurance funds (Danish = ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ or ‘a-kasse’).
What is an ‘Arbejdsløshedskasse’?
An ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ is basically like any ordinary insurance company where you pay a premium in return for coverage. Technically, it is privately owned, but with one crucial difference: Because the ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ is heavily subsidized by the government, the amount you receive as unemployment benefit is vastly bigger than what any for-profit insurance company could match.
Most “arbejdsløshedskasser’ – like Magistrenes Arbejdsløshedskasse – specialize in servicing a specific segment of the workforce. ‘Arbejdsløshedskasser’ are by law tasked with both providing unemployment benefit and helping their members find relevant work. As such, people seeking to insure themselves are encouraged to sign up with the ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ that has the best expertise for somebody with their professional background.
How do I join?
To join an ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ you have to meet certain criteria:
- You must be at least 18 years old and have no more than two years to retirement
- You must work in Denmark
How do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
To be entitled to unemployment benefit, you must have been a member for at least twelve months and have fulfilled previous work requirement of one full year while being a member. However, if you join immediately after finishing vocational training lasting at least 18 months, you will be exempt from this requirement.
When you receive benefits you are required to:
- Make a concerted effort to find new work and thereby minimize the amount of time you spend on unemployment benefit
- Show up every three months for a meeting, both with your ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ and your local Jobcenter. At these meetings you will be required to discuss your strategy towards finding new employment.