Unemployment benefits

If you are unemployed, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits

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You are, as a rule, subject to the legislation in the EU/EEA Member State in which you work.

If you are working in Denmark, you are generally subject to Danish national legislation. This means that you must be insured against unemployment in Denmark. If you are subject to Danish national legislation you will not be insured against unemployment in another EU/EEA Member State, because you can only be subject to the legislation of on EU/EEA Member State.

The Danish unemployment insurance system is a voluntary insurance scheme. This means that you are not automatically insured against unemployment when working in Denmark.

If you want to be insured against unemployment while working in Denmark, you have to join a Danish unemployment insurance fund, also known as an "A-kasse". These are private associations, and once you have joined an unemployment insurance fund, you must pay contributions to the fund.

You can become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you are at least 18 years of age, have more than 2 years left before you reach your retirement age, and reside in Denmark.

Persons under the age of 18 can also join an unemployment insurance fund, if they have completed a vocational education of at least 18 months.

In order to become a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you must actively contact the unemployment insurance fund of which you want to be a member and apply for a membership.

When applying for the membership, you must choose between full-time insurance and part-time insurance. The full-time insurance costs more, but you will receive more in unemployment benefits if you become unemployed.

You have to meet a number of conditions to be entitled to Danish unemployment benefits.

You must: 

  • Have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 1 year (it is possible to aggregate periods from another EU/EEA country – see "Aggregation of periods from another EU/EEA country")
  • Be registered as a jobseeker at your local job center from the first day you are available to the labour market.
  • Have received a certain income for the past 3 years; at least DKK 243.996 (2021) / 246.924 (2022) if you are full-time insured, and at least DKK 162.660 (2021) / 164.616 (2022)  if you are part-time insured.
  • Be available for the labour market. This means, among other things, that you must apply for and be able to take over work with the notice of a day.
  • Have a complete and approved CV no later than 2 weeks after you have registered as unemployed at the job center.

Your unemployment insurance fund can tell you more about the conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefits.

Start Register yourself as unemployed at the jobcenter - Jobnet.dk

In order to receive unemployment benefits from your unemployment insurance fund, you need to be registered as a jobseeker at your local job centre (Jobnet.dk)

You have to register yourself as a jobseeker at your local jobcentre or on Jobnet.dk on the first day that you are unemployed. If you do not have internet access, you can approach your local job centre or the unemployment insurance fund and get help to become registered.

You are entitled to unemployment benefits for 2 years within 3 years, calculated in hours. This means that you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits for 3.848 hours within a 3-year-period.

If you do not use all the hours within the period of 3 years, the remaining hours for which you are entitled to unemployment benefits will lapse.

It is possible to extend the period of 3 years, for example if you have been ill or on maternity leave.

It is also possible to extend the unemployment benefit period of 2 years (i.e. the 3.848 hours) based on wage hours paid to you since you started receiving unemployment benefits.

Each working hour extends your unemployment benefit period by 2 hours.

You must use the extra unemployment benefit hours within a period 3 times the number of hours you have worked. For example, if you have worked 100 hours before your ordinary unemployment benefit period of 2 years has expired, it entitles you to unemployment benefits for a further 200 hours. You must use the 200 hours within a period of 300 hours.

Hours not used within the extended period (this means the 300 hours in the example above) will lapse.

Unemployment benefits can amount to a maximum of 90 percent of the salary you earned before you became unemployed. The amount of unemployment benefits is calculated based on the 12 months in which you had the highest income within the past 24 months.

You can receive a maximum of DKK 19.332 (2021) / 19.351 (2022) per month as full-time insured and DKK 12.881 (2021) / 12.901 (2022) per month as part-time insured.

In certain situations, you are entitled to aggregate insurance periods from another EU/EEA country to meet the requirement of having been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 1 year before being entitled to unemployment benefits.

It is a requirement, that you are a EU/EEA-citizen or a Swiss citizen, a stateless citizen or a refugee and that you have residence in Denmark in order to be able to aggregate insurance periods from another EU/EEA country. Third country citizens residing in Denmark are only able to aggregate insurance periods within the Nordic countries.

If you have been a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund within the last 5 years, you are entitled to aggregate periods from another EU/EEA country if you meet the following conditions within 8 weeks after the end of your insurance period in the other EU/EEA country:

  • Be resided in Denmark
  • Become a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund

If you have worked as a cross border worker with residence in Denmark, you are entitled to aggregate periods from another EU/EEA country if you become a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund within 8 weeks after the end of your insurance period in the other EU/EEA country.

If you have not been a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund, you have to meet the following conditions within 8 weeks after the end of your insurance period in the other EU/EEA country in order to be entitled to aggregate periods:

  • Be resided in Denmark
  • Become a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund
  • Start to work in Denmark

Furthermore, when you have started to work in Denmark, you have to have registered at least 296 hours to the income register within a period of 12 weeks/3 months, if you are full-time insured. If you are part-time insured, you have to have registered at least 148 hours to the income register within a period of 12 weeks/3 months.

It is possible to extend the deadline of 8 weeks in all three cases, for example if you have been ill or on maternity leave.

If you want to aggregate periods from another EU/EEA country, you must apply for a document PD U1 in the EU/EEA country in question.

Your Danish unemployment insurance fund can only aggregate periods stated in a document PD U1 or in documents equivalent to document PD U1.

A cross border worker (or frontier worker) is a person who works in one EU/EEA Member State and resides in another EU/EEA Member State to which he/she returns daily or at least once a week.

A cross border worker is like anyone else subject to the legislation of the EU/EEA Member State in which he/she works. However, special rules applies for cross border workers in the event of unemployment.

A cross border worker who is partially or intermittently unemployed must register as unemployed with the employment services in the EU/EEA Member State of em-ployment. He/she shall receive unemployment benefits in accordance with the legislation of the Member State of employment, as if he/she were residing in that Member State.

A wholly unemployed cross border worker must register as unemployed with the employment services in the EU/EEA Member State of residence and shall receive unemployment benefits in accordance with the legislation of the Member State of residence.

Furthermore, a wholly unemployed cross border worker may, as a supplementary step, make himself/herself available to the employment services of the Member State of last employment. This supplementary step does not change the fact that he/she shall receive unemployment benefits in his/her Member State of residence.

In certain cases, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits while looking for a job in another EU/EEA country for up to 3 months.

This opportunity is only available if you are a EU/EEA-citizen or a Swiss citizen, a stateless citizen or a refugee with residence in Denmark. Third country citizens residing in Denmark will not be able to look for a job in another EU/EEA country for up to 3 months while receiving unemployment benefits.

You have to meet the following conditions:

  • You have been registered with the job center as full-time unemployed for at least 4 weeks before the planned departure date.
  • You are available for the labour market on your departure date.
  • You reside in Denmark until the departure date, including the day of departure.
  • You are a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund.
  • You are entitled to unemployment benefits on the departure date.
  • You have applied for a PD U2 certificate from your unemployment insurance fund before your departure.
  • You do not depart from Denmark before the date stated in your PD U2 certificate.

In certain cases, you can get an exemption from the requirement of 4 weeks' registration with the job center. You can contact your unemployment insurance fund for further information on the possibility of exemption.

With document PD U2, you are entitled to unemployment benefits for the period stated in the document, which is a maximum of 3 months. However, in order to receive the unemployment benefits, you must register with the employment service, in the country you are traveling to, no later than 7 days after the start date stated in document PD U2. Otherwise, you will only receive unemployment benefits from the day you register with the employment service in the other EU/EEA country.

During the period you receive Danish unemployment benefits in another EU/EEA country, you must be available for the labour market in the country in which you search for a job. If you get a job, you can no longer receive Danish unemployment benefits.

If you do not find work in the other EU/EEA country, it is important that you are back in Denmark and register with your local job center before the deadline of 3 months expires. You can see the deadline in your document PD U2 issued by your Danish unemployment insurance fund.

If you do not return to Denmark and register with your local job center before the deadline expires, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits. Hereafter, you will be entitled to unemployment benefits again at the earliest, when you have worked for at least 296 hours within a period of 12 weeks/3 months, if you are full-time insured. If you are part-time insured, you have to have worked at least 148 hours within a period of 12 weeks/3 months. 

Last updated: 25 November 2021