If you’re a foreigner who has been offered a job in Denmark, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the danish uenmployment system before signing on. Denmark has quite a unique system in place to cater to the unemployed.

In the low end there is something called ‘Kontanthjælp’ which is akin to common ‘Welfare’ or social security systems around the world. It’s a low sum paid every month and you can stay on it for the rest of your life in theory. With kontanthjælp comes certain requirements. You can’t have any wealth and you need to be actively seeking a job.

On the other hand there is the dagpenge og a-kasse system, which is more of an unemployment insurance system, where the employee pays a certain sum every month to insure against being laid off. The difference from other countries is that the government actually pays most of the contributions to the insurance scheme, which means that it is much cheaper than if it was fully private. You need to earn the right to insurance which is about 3/4 year worth of working.

If you then lose your job you are entitled to 18.000 a month which is significantly more than kontanthjælp, but you can only stay on it for two years. After that you either have to get a new job or you are transferred to kontanthjælp. Clearly it’s better to receive dagpenge, which also holds less stigma than being on kontanthjælp, which is why it’s highly recommended to sign up for one of these a-kasse. The monthly fee is about 500 danish kroner which isn’t much for the generally high danish wages. This will help you a great deal should you lose your job and it will give you time to properly search for a new job.


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