The Government has proposed new legislation (as part of the implementation of the February 2018 tax accord) that – if passed – would exclude many expat Danes from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
A Brief Summary
The proposal adds a new requirement to existing (and relatively stringent) requirements for receiving unemployment insurance benefits. It provides unemployment insurance benefits only to persons who have resided in Denmark or another EEA country or Switzerland for at least 7 out of the last 8 years.
One key argument made is that one must demonstrate a connection to the labor market in Denmark in order to be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.
Quite a few mobile workers were active in the Danish labor market prior to moving abroad. A Danish citizen could have worked in Denmark for, say, 10 years before he or she moved abroad to work for a foreign employer for, say, 5 years. It would be inaccurate to claim that such a person does not demonstrate a connection to the labor market in Denmark as a result of having moved abroad e.g. to upgrade his or her qualifications and thereby benefit the Danish labor market.
In the media debates prior to the publication of the proposed legislaton, the same outdated and oversimplified perception of expats was evident as had emerged during the discussions related to tax funded pensions.
Rasmus Jarlov commented to the Altinget newspaper: “Those who move abroad are well off. They’ll make it no matter what.” It is unacceptable that proposed legislation is based on an outdated image of expats and at the same time nullify many years of contributions previously made by Danes to the unemployment insurance plans and to the Danish labor market.
- Danes Worldwide maintains that the proposed legislation must be rejected.
- Otherwise, the Danes affected by the proposed legislation should be reimbursed for the contributions they previously made to the unemployment insurance plans and now suddenly cannot access when they become unemployed (even though they meet other requirements for the insurance benefits).
- More appropriate transitional provisions must be made for persons who have been members of an unemployment insurance plan for many years. As an example, the new residency requirement should apply only to those who join such a plan after 1 January 2019. Alternatively, an exemption from the residency requirement could be made for those who have been members of an unemployment insurance plan for at least 5 years.
- Such exemptions would of course apply as well to accompanying spouses and to children under 18.
Our Hearings Submission
The proposed new legislation respecting unemployment insurance has been subject to public hearings. Danes Worldwide provided a submission:
The proposed new legislation has not yet been introduced in Parliament. Its details may therefore change.
Contact us about unemployment insurance
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