Unemployment insurance and work culture

A prerequisite to understanding the Danish labour market is knowledge of unemployment insurance funds and unions. Moreover, if you get unemployed in Denmark you will be in continuous contact with the jobcentre of your municipality.

In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits (dagpenge) in Denmark, you need to be a member of a state authorized unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse). Unemployment insurance funds are private member organizations with voluntary memberships. However, the state regulates the rates of the funds as well as the requirements for receiving unemployment insurance. A membership insures you against loss of income, just like insuring yourself against accidents.

Unemployment insurance fund for 18 trade unions

Most unemployment insurance funds are oriented towards specific professions and closely connected to unions (fagforeninger) related to the professions in question. Akademikernes A-kasse acts as a unemployment insurance fund for 19 trade unions, all of which are represented in our executive committee. Our members count engineers, lawyers, economists, doctors, psychologists, dentists, architects, priests, and many other professions.

It can be hard to distinguish between an unemployment insurance fund and a union. Most relevant to you is the fact that the unemployment insurance fund is responsible for paying your benefits.

Akademikernes A-kasse
(unemployment insurance fund)
Helps you when you are unemployed Helps you while employed
Offers you advice about the rules and regulations of receiving benefits Advices you with regards to terms of employment
Pays your benefits Helps you negotiate wages
Offers courses for students Offers networks within your profession
Helps you start or change your career Offers legal help
Offers guidance with regards to your job search situation Offers guidance with regards to your job situation

When unemployed, register with your local jobcentre

While unemployed, you will be in continuous contact with your local jobcentre. You have to register as unemployed on their site: jobnet.dk, and you have to attend mandatory meetings with your local jobcentre as well as with us.

Read more about unemployment and benefits.

Denmark is flat – so is our workplace culture

When working in Denmark, a characteristic of Danish workplace culture is our typical flat structure. You and your employer are largely on equal terms with each other, therefore, your independent thoughts and ideas are welcome; you are actually expected to contribute in an independent manner.

With independence follows responsibility and parallel to this, trust. There is a focus on creating trusting workplaces, rather than ones characterized by control. As a result of this, diverse company and departmental decisions are often made on the basis of constructive criticism, dialogue, and knowledge sharing across organizational levels and departments focusing on the quality of ideas, rather than on who it is that presents them.

The flat structure of our workplace culture is also visible when considering widely applied practices of evaluation processes, where the employee evaluates his or her employer, as well as vice versa.
Another characteristic of Danish workplace culture is team structure – for many employees teamwork is key to their daily work life.

Lastly, joining in at lunch and coffee breaks is a must, since it is considered a core aspect of gluing together all levels, departments, and individuals in the pursuit of creating a workplace culture of well-being, as well as financial growth.

Read more about working in Denmark on the website workindenmark.dk/Working-in-DK.

Job search in an informal workplace culture

Our informal workplace culture makes it a legitimate and much used job search approach to contact potential employers unsolicited. However, do your homework and research the company beforehand and be clear on what you can offer them, i.e. target your approach. Remember if you do not get a hold of them in the first place, follow up. In this way you show initiative and the company does not have to spend time getting back to you, which will be much appreciated. Through unsolicited contact, you can create wide networks for the use of getting your next job, which at present counts for more than half the recruitments that take place in Denmark.

Book our workshop Informal Job Search.

Read more about finding a job in Denmark on the website workindenmark.dk/Find-a-job.