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Unemployment insurance

In Denmark insurance against unemployment is voluntary. If you want to be insured against unemployment, you must apply for admission into an unemployment insurance fund.

If you are a resident of an EU/EEA country, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits from day one.

All unemployment funds offer free of charge advice and guidance on issues connected with unemployment benefit and job search.

See a list of unemployment insurance funds on the website of the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (in Danish)

Important for people from non-EU/EEA countries

For people from non-EU/EEA countries, unemployment insurance may not be relevant or even allowed depending on the type of residence and work permit you hold. Contact the IAS or Danish Immigration Authorities for further information. 

PhD students

May not receive unemployment benefits during the job search period of their residence and work permit. If PhD students loose their job, they also loose their right to stay in Denmark legally and thus cannot benefit from unemployment benefit.

Employed researchers

Employed researchers with a subsequent job search period included in their residence and work permit can receive unemployment benefit during the job search period. However, if employed researchers loose their job before time, they also loose their right to stay in Denmark legally, and thus cannot benefit from unemployment benefit.

Unemployment Insurance for EU/EEA citizens

If you have been employed and insured against unemployment in another EU/EEA country and become unemployed in Denmark, you may transfer your periods of employment and unemployment insurance from the EU/EEA country to Denmark.

You must register with an unemployment insurance fund within 8 weeks after you have given up your unemployment insurance in your home country.

Your rights to unemployment benefit

You can become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you meet the following conditions:

  • Between 18 and 63 years of age
  • Reside in Denmark (or another EU/EEA country and work in Denmark)
  • Have paid work within a profession covered by the unemployment insurance fund; OR have completed a graduate programme of at least 18 months; OR be a business-owner or help run your spouse's business.

You must meet one of the following conditions to receive unemployment benefit:

  • Been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for the past 12 months and had at least 52 weeks of full time work over the last three years.
  • Have completed a graduate programme of at least 18 months in duration and applied for membership of the unemployment insurance fund no later than two weeks after completion of your studies. Please note that you can only become a member of an unemployment insurance fund after graduation if you had your residence in Denmark immediately up till start of your education.

NB: Non-EU/EEA citizens may not be allowed to receive unemployment benefits based on the conditions of their residence and work permit. Contact the IAS or Danish Immigration Authorities for further information

Leaving Denmark

Upon leaving Denmark you may transfer your periods of employment and unemployment insurance from Denmark to another EEA country with the EEA Unemployment Benefits. This will be possible if you have been employed and insured against unemployment in Denmark.

Unemployment funds and trade unions

Many unemployment insurance funds are affiliated with a trade union. It is not a prerequisite to be a member of the trade union in order to become a member of an unemployment insurance fund and vice versa. Some funds only accept membership of persons working in certain occupational fields while other funds are cross-sector. Read more about unemployment insurance in Denmark on the website of Expat in Denmark.

Supplementary insurance

If you would like to receive a higher compensation rate than the statutory regime offers, you can take out supplementary insurance with companies that offer such insurance (unemployment insurance funds, banks, insurance companies).

English Quick Guide by AAK

To get an overview of the legislation connected to unemployment benefits in Denmark, we advice you to read the English Quick Guide by AAK. AAK is the unemplyment insurance fund for academics.

Read more about unemployment funds and unions on the International Community website