For members


EXPLAINED: Should I sign up with a Danish union and get unemployment insurance?

For those entering the Danish labour market for the first time, it is important to consider joining a union, as well as signing up for private unemployment insurance. There are several things to consider before deciding which provider is right for you.

EXPLAINED: Should I sign up with a Danish union and get unemployment insurance?
File photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen / Ritzau Scanpix

Settling into any new job is a challenge, doing it in a new country even more so – you will need to gain an understanding of the way the labour market works, and it may be different to where you lived before.

In Denmark, the majority of employees are members of a union, and many take out private unemployment insurance through a provider known as an A-kasse (arbejdsløshedskasse).

It’s important to note that these are things that you are responsible to arrange for yourself and you should not expect them to be part of your formal employment process.


It is very common in Denmark for employees, including white-collar employees and management, to join a union. At the end of 2018, 1,862,700 working people in the country were union members – close to 70 percent of all people in employment.

Unions offer a variety of services and support to their members, such as reviewing employment contracts and other legal support, providing discounts on insurances and other products, and offering great networking opportunities. Unions are generally focused around a specific profession or trade.

They also negotiate contracts with state authorities over employment terms for their members, which can often constitute most of a sector’s workforce — so industrial disputes can become wide-ranging and serious.

READ ALSO: Danish labour dispute for public sector employees is resolved in 2018

It can be hard to know which union you should join, especially if you are new to the Danish labour market and aren’t able to read Danish.

The names of many of the unions themselves contain the profession that they are associated with, so you may want to ask a Danish friend for help or run the list through your preferred translation website.

Many of the unions have websites with a section in English, which give a description of the types of professions that they cover. A handful of them are also multidisciplinary. If you are still unsure of which to pick, you can always ask your co-workers for advice, especially those that are in the same profession or trade.


It is also very common and highly recommended for employees to join an A-kasse, a private organization that provides unemployment insurance. Membership involves paying a monthly or quarterly fee.

Payouts to A-kasse members, known in Danish as dagpenge, are funded in part by the state and in part by membership fees.

If you become a member of a union, they will often times recommend a certain A-Kasse and may offer a deal to join. However, you can join an A-kasse without becoming a member of a union.

It can also be difficult to figure out which A-kasse to join and while some are cheaper than others, it’s not just about paying an insurance premium. It’s a good idea to find an A-kasse that also fits well with your profession or trade.

In the event that you become unemployed, it’s good to have an A-kasse that is an appropriate fit for your background, so that they can better help you with your plan to get back into the workforce.

There are a lot of rules that you’ll have to familiarize yourself with, including when you will be allowed to apply for benefits and how long you can receive them.

In general, you have to have been an A-kasse member for a year before being able to apply for benefits in the event of unemployment. You also have to have worked for a certain period of time within the last three years, which varies depending on whether you were insured as full-time or part-time.

However, special rules, passed by parliament at the end of 2018, apply if you have lived abroad in the recent or medium-term past.

These introduced a rule that residency in Denmark or another EU or EEA country in seven of the last 12 years will be required for eligibility to receive benefits through the A-kasse system.

The new requirements took partial effect on January 1st, 2019 and will be fully phased in by 2021: residency requirements are five years of the last 12 in 2019, six of the last 12 years in 2020 and the full seven-year requirement from 2021.

You can read more detail (in Danish) about the introduction of the residency requirement (opholdskrav) on the website of the industry representative body, Danske A-kasser, here.

It’s also worth noting that the residency rules were implemented by the previous government, and the new government might change them — the ruling Social Democrat party has, in fact, suggested (prior to the election being called) that it would.

READ ALSO: Denmark passes bill to tighten residency requirement for unemployment insurance

Furthermore, if you decide to quit your job yourself, then there will be a waiting period in which you will not eligible to receive benefits.

There is a cap on the amount you can receive, so you are not automatically covered for your whole salary. You can check if your A-kasse offers a supplemental insurance plan, which you have to pay into for a certain amount of time before you become unemployed, in order to get the additional benefits.

These are just some examples of the rules. All of terms and conditions will be available from your A-kasse, so be sure to review everything carefully.

There may also be other great membership benefits from your A-kasse that you can use even while employed. Some offer additional packages for legal advice, which can be helpful if you don’t join a union.

There could also be networking opportunities, workshops or webinars that you can participate in, which can help strengthen your overall profile.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about vacation in Denmark – and how the rules are about to change

Are there any general or specific topics related to working, living, studying or anything else in Denmark that you'd like us to write about in detail? Let us know — we'd like to hear your suggestions.

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For members


What changes about life in Denmark in June 2021?

Coronavirus rules, travel restrictions and car registration fees are among the areas set to see announcements, updates or rule changes in Denmark in June.

What changes about life in Denmark in June 2021?
An electric-powered harbour bus operating in Copenhagen in June 2020. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Changes to coronavirus restrictions

Denmark initially outlined a phased plan to lift its coronavirus restrictions back in March. The plan has been updated (and accelerated) on a number of occasions, with politicians meeting regularly to discuss adjustments based on the status and progression of the epidemic.

Initially, the government said it would lift the majority of restrictions by the end of May, when it expected to have vaccinated everyone over the age of 50 (apart from those who choose not to be vaccinated). Although the vaccination calendar was pushed back, restrictions are still being lifted, with the government citing progress with vaccinations and general good control of the epidemic.

In an agreement reached earlier this month, the government said rules requiring the use of face masks and corona passports will be revoked when all people over 16 in Denmark have been offered vaccination. The end-stage of the vaccination programme is currently scheduled to be reached at the end of August. But more detail on the plans for phased lifting of these rules is expected to surface in June.

READ ALSO: When will Denmark stop requiring corona passports and face masks?

A return to offices and shared workspaces, already set out to occur in three steps, will continue. In the first phase, which began on May 21st, 20 percent capacity were allowed back at physical workplaces. Remaining staff must continue to work from home where possible. This proportion will increase to 50 percent on June 14th (and 100 percent on August 1st).

Public assembly limit to be raised indoors, lifted outdoors

The current phase of reopening, which has been in place since May 21st, limits gatherings indoors to 50 people. This is scheduled to increase to 100 on June 11th.

Outdoors gatherings, currently limited to 100 people, will be completely revoked on June 11th.

August 11th will see the end of any form of assembly limit, indoors or outdoors, according to the scheduled reopening.

Unfortunately, this does not mean festivals such as Roskilde Festival – which would normally start at the end of June – can go ahead. Large scale events are still significantly restricted, meaning Roskilde and the majority of Denmark’s other summer festivals have already been cancelled.

Eased travel restrictions could be extended to non-EU countries

Earlier this month, Denmark moved into the third phase of lifting travel restrictions , meaning tourists from the EU and Schengen countries can enter the country.

The current rules mean that foreigners resident in EU and Schengen countries rated orange on the country’s traffic light classification (yellow, orange and red) for Covid-19 levels in the relevant countries, will no longer need a worthy purpose to enter Denmark, opening the way for tourists to come to Denmark from across the region.

Denmark raised the threshold for qualifying as a yellow country from 20-30 to 50-60 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.  

However, the lower threshold only applies to EU and Schengen countries, which means that, for example, the UK does not qualify as a yellow country despite falling within the incidence threshold.


But the 27 member states of the European Union recently announced they had agreed to allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the bloc.

A Ministry of Justice text which sets out the plan for Denmark’s phased easing of travel restrictions suggests that the fourth phase, scheduled to take effect on June 26th, will see Denmark adopt the EU’s common rules on entry for persons from outside the bloc, meaning non-EU countries could qualify for the more lenient rules for yellow regions.

New car registration fees come into effect

New rules for registration fees for new vehicles, adopted in February, take effect on June 1st.

The laws, which will be applied retroactively from December 18th 2020, mean that different criteria will be used to calculate the registrations fees applied to cars based on their carbon dioxide emissions, replacing the existing rules which used fuel consumption as the main emissions criteria.

New rules will also be introduced offering more advantages for registering electric and hybrid vehicles.

You can find detailed information via the Danish Motor Vehicle Agency.

READ ALSO: Why is it so expensive to buy a car in Denmark?