Danish rules for unemployment insurance and unemployment benefit

Danske regler for arbejdsløshedsforsikring og -dagpenge
Read here about how to take out unemployment insurance in Denmark and about when you have the right to unemployment benefit.

If you become unemployed, you may be entitled to unemployment benefit provided you have paid the necessary contributions to an unemployment insurance fund. IIn some Nordic countries, membership of an unemployment insurance fund is automatic when you start a new job; in others you have to join one yourself. If you live in one Nordic country and work in another, or if you move from one Nordic country to another, you need to pay particular attention to the relevant regulations.

Unemployment insurance

If you are working in Denmark, in most cases the Danish social security regulations will apply, requiring you to join an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse) if you wish to be insured against unemployment.

In Denmark, joining an unemployment insurance fund is voluntary, but most people choose to do so because membership provides financial security if they become unemployed.

You can choose either full-time or part-time insurance. Full-time insurance costs more, but in return, you will receive higher benefits if you become unemployed.

It is your responsibility to contact and join an unemployment insurance fund.

You can obtain a list of Danish unemployment insurance funds from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment, and further details about the funds are available from the industry association Danske A-Kasser (Danish Unemployment Funds).

If you live in Denmark and work in another country

If you live in Denmark and work in another Nordic country, the regulations of the country where you are working will generally apply.

Living in another Nordic country and working in Denmark

If you live in one Nordic country and work in another, you will generally be subject to the regulations of the country where you are working.

Working in two or more countries

If you work in two or more countries, deciding where are insured against unemployment depends partly on where you live and partly on how much work you do in each country. As a general rule, you will be covered by Danish regulations if you live in Denmark and more than 25% of your working hours are in Denmark. If you have any questions, please contact the authority responsible for benefit payments Udbetaling Danmark.

Relocating to or starting work in Denmark

If you start work in Denmark or are covered by Danish regulations for some other reason, you must join a Danish unemployment insurance fund within eight weeks to avoid any gaps in your unemployment insurance period.

Postings abroad

If you work for a Danish employer and are posted to another Nordic country for up to two years, you can to Udbetaling Danmark for continuing cover by Danish social security so that you will still be insured against unemployment in Denmark. Udbetaling Danmark can issue an A1 certificate documenting the decision to foreign authorities.

For further information, see borger.dk.

Working for short periods abroad

If you are in any doubt about where you should be insured, please contact the relevant official agency in the country where you work or live and ask them to advise you about regulations that apply to you.

Working temporarily in Greenland

If you work temporarily for a Danish employer in Greenland and were living in Denmark immediately before you moved to Greenland, you can continue to be a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund. For further information, contact your unemployment insurance fund.

Self-employed

If you are self-employed you may be entitled to unemployment benefit but some regulations are slightly different to those for employees. For example, you must close your company down to be entitled to unemployment benefit.

If you are a self-employed frontier worker who is fully unemployed and living in an EU member state where there is no unemployment insurance system for the self-employed, you can receive unemployment benefit from your Danish unemployment insurance fund under certain conditions.

Students

See the section on “Recent graduates” under “Unemployment benefit”.

If you have questions about where you should be insured against unemployment, contact Udbetaling Danmark.

    Unemployment benefit

    In which country should you apply for unemployment benefit?

    If you are unemployed, apply for unemployment benefit in the country where you live. This also applies if you have worked in another Nordic country.

    Read about the regulations for receiving Danish unemployment benefit below. If you have worked in Denmark but live in another Nordic country, please see the page dealing with that country where you live for information about receiving unemployment benefit. (See “Information about unemployment insurance and unemployment benefit in the Nordic countries” at the bottom of this page.)

    What conditions must you meet to be entitled to Danish unemployment benefit if you are an employee or self-employed?

    To be entitled to Danish unemployment benefit, you must comply with the terms and conditions listed below. These regulations are described in detail at borger.dk.

    You must:

    • Be registered as a jobseeker at your local job centre at the latest on the first day of your unemployment  
    • Have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least one year
    • Have filed tax returns for a certain level of income over the last three years
    • If self-employed, have been actively engaged in your self-employed job to a significant degree for at least 52 weeks over the last three years
    • Have been legally resident in Denmark, Greenland or the Faroe Islands, or in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, for a total of at least 7 years within the last 12 years.  There are a number of exceptions to the residence requirement, under which periods abroad may be equated with residence in the Danish commonwealth. Your unemployment insurance fund can provide you with more information.
    • Be available for work.
    • Check job vacancies at least once every seven days
    • Have a complete, approved CV within two weeks of registering as unemployed at the job centre.
    Recent graduates

    As a recent graduate you may be entitled to unemployment benefit one month after you complete your studies, provided your study programme was one of the following types:

    • A vocational programme scheduled to last at least 18 months
    • A basic vocational course provided under the Basic Vocational Education and Training Act
    • A Basic Integration Programme under the Act on Basic Integration Education – IGU
    • A part-time Master's programme commenced after 1 July 2018, provided under the Universities Act.

    You must apply to join an unemployment insurance fund no later than two weeks after completing your study programme. The earliest date you can become a member is the date on which you completed your study programme.

    As a new graduate, the amount you will receive will be determined by whether or not you have dependents.

    If you completed your study programme abroad, a condition of entitlement to unemployment benefit is that you meet the requirement for residence in Denmark, the Faroe Islands or Greenland immediately before you started your study programme and no later than two weeks after completing it.

    Applying for Danish unemployment benefit after working abroad

    If you are not entitled to benefit from a Danish unemployment insurance fund because you have worked and been insured in another Nordic country, you must obtain a PD U1 certificate from the unemployment insurance agency in the country concerned to document your insurance periods.

    Previously insured against unemployment in Denmark

    You must have been a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund for at least one year to be entitled to unemployment benefit after living in another EEA country or Switzerland.

    If you were a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund within the previous five years, you can transfer unemployment insurance periods from another EEA country, Switzerland or the Faroe Islands to Denmark. You must meet the following two conditions within eight weeks of your unemployment insurance ending in the other EEA country, Switzerland or the Faroe Islands:

    • You must apply in writing to join a Danish unemployment insurance fund
    • You must move to Denmark and take up residence here.

    If you have not been a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund within the last five years, you can transfer unemployment insurance periods from another EEA country, Switzerland or the Faroe Islands to Denmark. You must meet the following conditions no later than eight weeks after your unemployment insurance ends in the other EEA country, Switzerland or the Faroe Islands:

    • You must apply in writing to join a Danish unemployment insurance fund
    • You must have started a period of employment of a certain length, or started a business of your own which is not temporary and involves a substantial amount of work. For further information on the conditions, please refer to borger.dk.

    The unemployment insurance fund makes the final decision on whether you are eligible for membership and entitled to unemployment benefit.

    Working in Denmark and applying for unemployment benefit abroad from another Nordic country

    If you apply for unemployment benefit in another Nordic country, you may have the right to include your employment and insurance periods from Denmark. If you are in any doubt about the rules, please contact the appropriate agencies in the country concerned.

    You will need a PD U1 certificate to document your Danish periods of insurance. You can apply for one at borger.dk:

    How do you apply for Danish unemployment benefit?

    If you become unemployed, you must be registered as unemployed at jobnet.dk on your first day of unemployment. If you do not have internet access, you can go to your local job centre or unemployment insurance fund and ask for help to register.

    In order to receive benefits from your unemployment insurance fund, you must be registered as unemployed on jobnet.dk and with your unemployment insurance fund.

    When you register as unemployed at the job centre, you will be issued with a username and password for your own page – “Min Side” – on jobnet.dk. If you register yourself as unemployed on jobnet.dk, you will generate these yourself. If your job centre registers you, your username and password will be sent to your e-Boks (digital inbox). If you are exempted from compulsory digital post, these will be sent by letter to the postal address at which you are registered.

    You must upload your CV to your personal “Min side” page on jobnet.dk. In addition, you must:

    • Confirm that you are an active jobseeker by checking job vacancies at least every 7th day
    • Register your job searches in a job log
    • Report fit for work again after any period of illness
    • Follow your plan – “Min plan” – for activities that you must take part in while unemployed and read your agreements with the job centre and with the unemployment insurance fund.

    There are several self-service functions on jobnet.dk. For example, you can de-register when you find work, report your holidays, report sick, or book and rebook appointments at the job centre.

    For how long are you entitled to receive Danish unemployment benefit?

    You are entitled to receive unemployment benefit for a total of two years in a three-year period. Your entitlement is measured in terms of hours over the three-year period. In the three-year reference period you will have built up entitlement to benefit for a certain number of hours. The hours for which you are entitled to benefit lapse if you fail to use them within the reference period. The reference period of three years may be extended, if for example you have been sick or on parental leave.

    If your benefit period of two years has expired, you have the right to extend it based on the number of hours of paid work that you have had since you started receiving unemployment benefit.

    Each hour worked extends your benefit period by two hours. You will need to use the extra benefit hours within this period, which is calculated as three times the number of hours you have worked.

    There is a limit to the number of hours you can accumulate in this way. Read more about the relevant regulations on borger.dk.

    Can your Danish unemployment benefit be paid out in another Nordic country?

    If you are receiving Danish unemployment benefit, you can under certain circumstances take your benefit to another Nordic country for up to three months while looking for work there. However, this does not apply to Greenland.

    The conditions are that:

    • You are a national of an EEA country or Switzerland
    • You live and reside in Denmark up to your departure date
    • You are a member of an unemployment insurance fund
    • You are entitled to unemployment benefit at the time of departure
    • You have been registered at your job centre as full-time unemployed for at least four weeks before the planned date of departure
    • You have applied for a PD U2 certificate from your unemployment insurance fund before you leave, but not earlier than four weeks before the planned departure date.

    In certain cases, you may be exempted from the condition of being registered for four weeks at the job centre. You can read more at borger.dk.

    The PD U2 certificate proves your entitlement to a stated period of unemployment benefit. To receive the benefit you must register with the employment service in the country to which you have travelled, no later than seven days after the start date stated in the certificate. Otherwise, your unemployment benefit will begin on the day you register with the employment service.

    While receiving Danish unemployment benefits in another Nordic country, you must be available for work in the country concerned. If you find a job, you can no longer receive Danish unemployment benefits. Instead, you will normally need to take out unemployment insurance in the country where you find work.

    If you do not find work in the other country, it is important that you return to Denmark and report to your local job centre before the end of the three-month period. This is set out in the PD U2 certificate issued to you by your unemployment insurance fund.

    Can you receive unemployment benefit from another Nordic country while looking for work in Denmark?

    If you are receiving unemployment benefit from another Nordic country, in certain circumstances you can take your unemployment benefit with you to Denmark for up to three months while looking for work. The unemployment insurance agency in the country where you are insured must issue a PD U2 certificate.

    On arrival in Denmark you must register with ‘Work in Denmark’ as a jobseeker.

    Whom should you contact if you have questions?

    If you have questions about unemployment insurance in Denmark, contact an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse).

    If you have questions about which country's rules apply in your situation, contact the Udbetaling Danmark office for International Social Security.

    Information about unemployment insurance and unemployment benefit in the Nordic countries

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