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Reader Question: Do you need to be paid in Denmark to get job insurance?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Reader Question: Do you need to be paid in Denmark to get job insurance?
Woods Office Augusthus in Copenhagen. Denmark has its own particular form of office politics, according to internationals who have worked at some of the country's firms. Illustration photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

A reader got in touch who has residency rights in Denmark, but is paid by a foreign company in a foreign currency into a foreign bank account. Is he still eligible for Denmark's A-kasse job insurance?

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The reader, a British person who has residency in Denmark under the post-Brexit deal, pays B-tax to the Danish government, meaning he is classed as self-employed or a freelancer, and has joined the A-kasse unemployment fund set up for his industry. 

"I was assured by the helpful sales person that I was eligible for cover," he says. "But I have a feeling the person wasn't entirely sure," he told The Local.

According to Jes Flatau, the legal chief at Akademikernes A-kasse, which describes itself as "Denmark's largest and cheapest unemployment fund", the advisor is right. 

"If the employer does not report wages and working hours to the Danish Tax Authority (SKAT), it is foreign work. And this applies regardless of whether the work is carried out in Denmark or not," he told The Local.

"But according to the Danish national unemployment insurance rules, you can use foreign work to meet the income requirement for the right to unemployment benefits."

Amalie Mathiassen, press spokesperson for Danske A-kasser, Denmark's association for unemployment insurance funds, agreed that it was "irrelevant which country the employer is domiciled in, or which currency the salary is paid in". 

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners in Denmark need to know about unemployment insurance

This does not, however, mean that the reader necessarily will receive unemployment benefits should he become unemployed, Flatau warned, or at least not yet. 

"The fact that he can register with an A-kasse does not mean that he can also receive unemployment benefits. It requires at least one year of uninterrupted membership of the A-kasse and that he fulfils an income requirement of approximately 250,000 Danish kroner, earned within a maximum of three years."

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There is also ceiling of 21,000 kroner per month that can qualify towards this amount, meaning the earliest you can meet the income requirement is after 12 months (21,000 x 12 = 252,000). 

As the reader's employment is considered "foreign", his employer does not have to report his salary to the Danish Tax Authority's income register, as Danish employers must. This means he will also need to be able to document his income with payslips and employment contracts if he wants to be eligible for a-kasse payouts. 

The reader in this case said that he was paying B-tax, which means he is treated as self-employed or a freelancer, and pays tax on his income after he has been paid and reported it to the tax authority, so he is already reporting income to the tax agency.   

Finally, you need to be "available to the labour market" to receive payouts, which the reader would be, as his post-Brexit residency gives him the right to work in Denmark. 

"You must have a work and residence permit that allows you to take up work at a day's notice," Mathiassen said. 

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These rules for those with 'foreign employment' also apply to members of an A-kasse who leave Denmark to work in a country outside the EEA and Great Britain and Switzerland, but have retained membership of their A-kasse. 

What if the reader is posted to Denmark? 

EU workers seconded or posted to Denmark by a company in another EU state do not need to meet the legislation on social security in the country in which they are working, so would not be eligible to join an A-kasse. They would instead be paid unemployment benefit by their home country if made unemployed. 

If this was the case with the reader, it would say on their payslips that they were making national insurance contributions to their home country, in the reader's case to National Insurance UK. This is because the rule also applies to UK nationals who have residence and working rights in Denmark under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

 

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