Introducing Magistrenes A-kasse (‘The Masters Unemployment Insurance Fund’)
What is an ‘A-kasse’? And what is the speciality of Magistrenes A-kasse?
An ‘a-kasse’ (or ‘arbejdsløshedskasse’) is basically like any ordinary insurance company where you pay a premium in return for coverage. Technically, it is a private association, but with one crucial difference: Because the ‘a-kasse’ is subsidized by the government, the amount you receive in unemployment benefits much more than what any for-profit insurance company would be able to match.
Most ‘a-kasser’ – like Magistrenes A-kasse (‘Masters Unemployment Insurance Fund’) – specialize in servicing a specific segment of the workforce. MA accepts all applicants, but specialise in people with a degree in the humanities or the sciences.
‘A-kasser’ are by law tasked with both providing unemployment benefits and helping their members find relevant work. So people seeking to insure themselves are encouraged to sign up with the ‘a-kasse’ that has the expertise for somebody with their professional background.
Unemployment institutions in Denmark: The private ‘A-kasse’ and the public ‘Jobcenter’
The private ‘A-kasse’
In contrast to most other countries in Europe, unemployment insurance in Denmark is voluntary. If you want to insure yourself against unemployment, you have to purchase your own insurance through one of the government-sanctioned private unemployment insurance funds (‘arbejdsløshedskasse’ or ‘a-kasse’) like MA. The funds you receive in case of unemployment are called ‘dagpenge’.
The public ‘Jobcenter’
But since dagpenge – though paid out by a private organisation – are partly financed with public funds, you also have to deal with a public institution, or the “Jobcenter”. Each city has it’s own Jobcenter but they are governed by the same rules.
Depending on where you live in Denmark, the Jobcenter will want to see you for an interview sooner or later. Their major focus is “activation” i.e. publicly funded activities to lead you closer to employment. These activities typically consists of job hunting courses or internships. You are required to attend at least one activity in the first 6 months of unemployment.
MA: Your sparring partner
An a-kasse is a member-owned organisation – we work for you and you can always ask us for help, if you’re in doubt, or have questions regarding the Jobcenter. We pay out your dagpenge, but we also serve as your sparring partner when it comes to career choices etc.
You can book a private session with a career counsellor – perhaps for a chat about your career strategy or perhaps to go over a specific application and cv for a particular job.
But we also have plenty of offers, such as workshops, public talks with specific companies etc. See the calendar.
However, please note that nearly all our offers are in Danish, so if you don’t speak it well enough, consider booking a career counsellor for a private session (please call us for help if you cannot work out the Danish booking flow on the website). Often it is very useful for foreign applicants to consult a Danish counsellor to discuss how to best approach application-writing in Danish companies. Often there are small but very important differences you should be aware of.
Most a-kasser in Denmark are specialised in a particular field – at MA we specialise in candidates with university degrees.
Don’t get nervous – but do remember ONE thing
Don’t stress about memorising everything about the Danish unemployment system. As long as you have e general sense of what to do and expect, you can always get the details sorted when the time comes. Also, MA or the Jobcenter will always contact you if there is anything you need to do. As long as you read and respond to information in your inbox (located in ‘selvbetjeningen’ in Mit MA), you will be fine!
However: Every week you must fill-in your joblog! That is the ONE thing you can never forget.
As dagpenge is at heart an insurance policy, you must always meet the requirements for dagpenge. This basically means that to receive dagpenge for one week, you must apply for work for that week. Quid pro quo.
Specifically, you must apply for two jobs every week you receive dagpenge and register this at your joblog.
How do I join Magistrenes A-kasse?
To join an ‘a-kasse’ you have to meet certain criteria:
- You must be at least 18 years old and have no more than two years to retirement
- You must work in Denmark
How do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits, you need to fulfil certain requirements.
- You have to have been a member of an unemployment fund for at least the last twelve months, and
- have fulfilled a previous work requirement of one full year with an income of at least DKK 243,996 (2021 figures) over the last 3 years while being a member. You can include a maximum of DKK 20,333 per month to reach the one year total (2021 figures). Please note that higher monthly earnings will not entitle you to receive benefits sooner. If you have earned less per month, it will take you longer to earn the right to receive unemployment benefits.
- Or you have to have fulfilled a previous work requirement of one full year/1924 hours of ordinary work while being a member. Whether you need to fulfill the requirements of income, the requirements of hours of ordinary work depends on your prior rights. We will inform you once you apply.
- However, if you join immediately after finishing vocational training lasting at least 18 months, you will be exempt from the above requirement.
When you receive unemployment benefits you are required to:
- Make a concerted effort to find new work and thereby minimize the amount of time you spend on unemployment benefit
- Attend an introductory CV meeting (‘Velkomstmøde’) within the first 2 weeks after you have registered yourself as unemployed at jobnet.dk / at the ‘jobcenter’.
- Show up every three months for a meeting, both with your ‘a-kasse’ and your local ‘jobcenter’. At these meetings you will be required to discuss your strategy for finding new employment
Read more in this pamphlet
|New to the unemployment benefit system?
January 2021: If you don’t speak Danish, the unemployment insurance system can seem complicated. Here is MA’s introduction in English.