Danish social security

Unemployment insurance fund and unemployment benefits

Danish social security

Unlike other forms of social security in Denmark, unemployment insurance is not automatic and must be applied for. However, you do not need to be a member of a trade union in order to become a member of an unemployment insurance fund.

An unemployment insurance fund in Denmark provides short term relief to workers when they become unemployed. It is a good idea to become a member of an unemployment insurance fund (A-Kasse in Danish) to make sure that if you unfortunately lose your job, you can claim unemployment benefits. If you are not a member and you do in fact lose your job, you will be unable to claim these benefits and risk having no income.  

Unemployment insurance fund

You are entitled to apply for membership to an unemployment insurance fund as long as you are between 18 and 63 years of age and live in Denmark (or any other EU/EEA country and work in Denmark). You can apply to be insured on either a full-time or part-time basis. As well as this, you must either:

  • Be in paid employment in a profession that is covered by the unemployment insurance fund
  • Be the owner of a business or help with the running of your spouse’s business
  • Have completed a business-related educational course with a minimum duration of 18 months. You must have applied for membership no more than 2 weeks after you finished the course.

Unemployment benefits in Denmark

In order to be eligible for such benefits, you need to have had an income of at least DKK 223,428 if you are full-time insured and DKK 148,956 if you are part-time insured within the last three years. Only income from periods when you are part of an unemployment fund can be counted and you must have been a member for at least a year.

These rules only affect you if you are unemployed for the first time. If you have been unemployed before and need to earn a new unemployment benefit period, then you must fulfill the working requirement which means that you must work 1,924 hours before you can start a new 2 years period with benefits.

The benefits received can be up to a maximum of 90% of the member’s income from their previous job, and are paid out around every three or four weeks. For a full-time insured member, the maximum rate you can receive is DKK 18,403 per month. All members are entitled, as of 2017, to receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of three years, and membership automatically ends two years before you are entitled to your pension.

Further reading

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