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Denmark announces boosted unemployment benefits for retraining

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The Local ([email protected])
Denmark announces boosted unemployment benefits for retraining
Illustration file photo: The government wants to give additional incentives for retraining to unemployed over-30s. Photo: Celina Dahl/Ritzau Scanpix

The coming draft 2024 budget is to offer some people who receive job insurance, ‘dagpenge’, 110 percent of the regular benefit rate by training in a sector where there is a labour shortage.

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The option to receive more money from Denmark’s unemployment insurance dagpenge system, by taking a professional qualification (erhvervsuddannelse) within a sector where labour is in short supply, could be made permanent next year.

The draft 2024 budget, which will be presented this week, will make a current, temporary back-to-work scheme permanent, the Ministry of Employment said in a statement on Monday.

The cost of the proposal to the state will be around 230 million kroner next year and 300 kroner per year thereafter, the ministry said.

A temporary version of the scheme is already in place, having been reintroduced for the second half of 2023 based on an earlier version from 2020. It allows people who are receiving dagpenge unemployment insurance to receive 110 percent of the monthly payment to which they are already entitled, by enrolling on and attending a course at a professional college within a sector approved for the scheme.

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People over the age of 30 who have no qualifications, or whose qualifications are obsolete, are eligible for the scheme.

The arrangement will continue permanently from 2024, the government proposes.

What is dagpenge? 

If you become unemployed in Denmark you can be eligible for unemployment benefits comprising up to 90 percent of your previous salary.

Unemployment benefits, known as dagpenge, come from membership of a private association known as an A-kasse, short for arbejdsløshedskasse, and don't automatically apply if you lose your job. You have to fulfil some requirements first in order to be eligible.

People who work in Denmark for foreign companies and foreign people living in Denmark can be eligible for dagpenge if they are A-kasse members and fulfil requirements specific to their situations.

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Results from the temporary scheme suggest that it is successful in promoting enrolments to courses in areas where there is a work shortage, according to the ministry.

Around 2,800 people started a professional college course on the 110 percent dagpenge rate between August 1st 2020 and December 31st 2022, ministry figures state.

Typical sectors with intakes from the scheme are social care, administration, machine operation, and business-to-business.

“We need more trained people so we can achieve our ambition of better welfare and green transition. That’s we it will be good to make this scheme permanent,” Employment Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said in a statement.

“I’m convinced it will lead to more unemployed taking a professional course,” she said.

“Finances are naturally important to individuals and over-30s typically have higher recurring costs from their homes and families. With this scheme we are helping more people to go in the direction of trained work and in the end, putting more staff in care homes and more hands at industrial workplaces around the country,” she said.

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