If you do not immediately have a job after graduation of your B.A. or M.A. degree, you might be entitled to receive unemployment benefit.
What is an ”A-kasse”?
The Danish word ‘A kasse’ is an abbreviation for ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ which means unemployment insurance fund (UIF). Most professions and trades have their own specialized a-kasse.
When you join (become a member of) the UIF, you are guaranteed an amount of regular income if you become unemployed. The UIF can give you time to look for the right job, pay your bills – and in fact help you to find a job.
Membership fees are usually around 450 kr. per month, but some are free as long as you are studying. You will receive about 13.600 kr. (before tax) per month.
When you apply for unemployment benefit after your graduation you will be in a qualifying period of 3 weeks before you can get your benefit.
Admission to an unemployment fund (A-kasse) – rules for new graduates
- You must have completed your B.A. or master’s degree before you are entitled to receive unemployment benefit from an UIF.
- You had a permanent address in Denmark no later than one day before the start of your education.
- Your education has to be of minimum 18 months.
- You have to sign up as unemployed at the job centre
- You have to apply for membership at the unemployment insurance fund no later than 14 days after graduation. The 2-week deadline is laid down by the law, and the unemployment funds are not able to make dispensations. When you receive benefit from Denmark you cannot go on vacation without giving notice to your UIF – you need to be in DK and prove that you are actually available for job search, meetings etc.
- If you are an EU citizen and from the Nordic countries you can join the unemployment insurance fund, and you can look for a job – you only need to apply for an EU residence document.
- If you are not an EU citizen, we advise you to contact Work In Denmark as you need to have a residence and work permit for 37 hours work per week to be able to work and live in DK.
What exactly to do when you are about to graduate!
Pre-approval and admission to UIFs
If you conclude your degree course with a dissertation or a master thesis, you can be admitted to an unemployment insurance fund and receive benefit from the day you signed the pre-approval. The UIF have a pre-printed form for this pre-approval, which will be sent to you when you request the admission material or which you can print from the fund’s homepage.
Then you hand in the form to your dissertation supervisor and, once it has been signed by the supervisor, you can send it to the unemployment fund. If the dissertation is accompanied by an oral defence, pre-approval cannot be supplied. In that case you need to send an email where you state the date of your oral defence.
Be sure to always contact your unemployment fund to get advice about rules for new graduates. The rules might be different from each fund.
Job Centre – be sure to register
The first day you are unemployed you must report to a job centre in order to be eligible for unemployment benefit. You can do this in person by attending your local job centre or on jobnet.
It is a requirement for receiving benefit that you are inscribed at a job centre. At the job centre you will be given an unemployment benefit card and a declaration of unemployment. The declaration should be completed and sent to the unemployment fund along with copies of, among other things, your tax card. Your unemployment card should be sent to your unemployment fund once your unemployment period is over. Read more at Work in Denmark.
Working in a part-time job while studying and after graduation – what to do?
If you have a part-time job with a fixed term of notice, you need a ’notice waiver’ from your employer in order to receive unemployment benefits when graduating.
You can use it as evidence that you are able to quit your part-time job at a moment’s notice in order to assume full-time employment. In other words, if your part-time employer signs a notice waiver, they have waived their right to a term of notice in case of your resignation.
If you find day-to day work - and with no term of notice – you do not require a notice waiver. The same applies if you are able to schedule your work at any given time of day.
If you don’t want to keep your part-time time when you graduate, make sure to quit your job before graduation otherwise you are in risk of losing your rights to benefits.
Voluntary, unpaid work – how can this inflict on your benefits?
As a rule, time spent working – paid or unpaid – will be de¬ducted from your benefits. The only exception is voluntary work in NGOs, associations or clubs that do not exist pri¬marily to generate a profit. You can undertake such work with no limitations, provided that it is unpaid, requires no special educational background and could not have been done by any other as part of a paid job.
Examples of voluntary, unpaid work includes helping in a soup kitchen, being an activist in an NGO, volunteering at the local archives or taking part in amateur theatre.
If the work could be done as part of a paid job, or if it requires a certain educational background, you are only allowed an average of four hours a week.