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.
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
The first thing you need to do in order to apply for unemployment benefits is to register as a jobseeker at your local job centre. You will submit a declaration of unemployment to your insurance fund. You must actively seek employment and be prepared to accept job offers as long as you are unemployed and receiving benefits.
In order to be eligible for such benefits, you need to have had a minimum of 52 weeks in employment within the last three years, as well as having been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least one year.
Any time spent in unemployment in other EU/EEA countries can be included when calculating your eligibility for unemployment benefits, though you will need to document this on your E301 form which you can get from the insurance company in the foreign country.
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. All members are entitled to receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of four years in total, and membership automatically ends when a member reaches the age of 65.