Employees and self-employed persons

Employees and self-employed persons from other EU/EEA countries or from Switzerland

Coverage by the Finnish social security system requires that you are either moving permanently to Finland or working in Finland. The social security coverage of employees and self-employed persons who move to Finland from another EU/EEA country or from Switzerland is determined by reference to the intended length of their employment. The following distinctions are made:

Employment relationship lasting less than 4 months

If you are going to be working in Finland for less than 4 months, you will normally not be be entitled to Kela benefits. However, if contributions are being paid in your behalf to the Finnish earnings-related pension system, you are entitled to the child home care allowance (basic allowance and supplement) and to medical treatment in the public system. You are also insured for unemployment benefits from the start of the employment.

Employment relationship lasting at least 4 months

If your period of employment in Finland lasts for more than four months and the minimum conditions regarding the terms of employment are met, you are for the duration of the employment entitled to health insurance benefits even when you are not considered to be resident in Finland. You are entitled to child benefit and child home care allowance for your children.  In addition, you are insured for unemployment benefits in Finland and you also accrue national pension and survivors' pension rights.

Employment relationship and other factors indicating a residence in Finland

Along with employment, certain other factors can indicate that you intend to make Finland your permanent home, which in turn will give you coverage under the Finnish residence-based social security system.  You will be eligible for all benefits available from Kela as soon as you move to Finland.

Your residence in Finland can also be established retrospectively: If you have lived in Finland for at least one year, this can be taken as an indicator of permanent residence.

Self-employed person in Finland

Self-employed persons who come to Finland from other EU/EEA countries or Switzerland can qualify for coverage under the Finnish social security system from the start of the self-employment when they have worked as ­self-employed persons for at least four months without interruption and has thereby become subject to compulsory pension insurance under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (yrittäjän eläkelaki YEL) or the Farmers' Pensions Act (maatalousyrittäjän eläkelaki MYEL).

 

Employees and self-employed persons from other countries

The right of employees from other countries than the EU/EEA countries, Switzerland and the agreement countries to coverage by the Finnish social security system can be based on either residence or employment in Finland.

Employees living in Finland

If you are coming to work in Finland and you have an employment contract, and there are also other factors indicating that you intend to live in Finland, you can gain coverage under the Finnish social security system as soon as you move to Finland. You must be legally resident and employed in Finland.

If you are self-employed in Finland and are subject to compulsory pension insurance for the self-employed, you can gain coverage under the Finnish social security system.   As a rule, this means that you are also considered as being resident in Finland.

Employment in Finland for less than 4 months

Already a small extent of work in Finland can give you the right to public health care in Finland. You can get a certificate from Kela proving your right to health care.

Employment in Finland for at least 4 months

If you come to Finland to work here but still live in another country, you are for the duration of your employment entitled to coverage by the Finnish social security system, provided that your employment relationship continues for at least four months and that the employment meets the minimum conditions regarding the weekly working hours and the wage. You will be eligible for sickness and parental benefits, among others.

 As an employee, you will be covered under the Finnish Unemployment Security Act as soon as you start work. However, to qualify for unemployment allowance, you must have worked in Finland for at least 6 months beginning 1 January 2014 or later.

You are entitled to a child benefit and child home care allowance as soon as you arrive in Finland if you intend to work for at least 6 months and your job meets certain minimum requirements. Also, your children must accompany you to Finland.

Eligibility for coverage under the Finnish social security system for self-employed persons

You can qualify for coverage under the Finnish social security system if you work as a self-employed person in Finland and you are liable to take out pension insurance for self-employed persons. Usually this requires you to be a permanent resident of Finland.  

 

Employees and self-employed persons from countries that have a social security agreement with Finland

You may have a right to social security on the basis of a social security agreement. Finland has such agreements with the other Nordic countries and with the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, India and Israel. Further, Finland has made a separate arrangement concerning social security with the Province of Quebec. With Australia, Finland has an agreement covering medical treatment during a temporary stay in the other signatory country.

Eligibility of employees for coverage under the Finnish social security system

If you are from the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, India or Israel, and you are coming to work in Finland, your coverage under the Finnish social security system is decided largely by the same criteria as apply to those arriving in Finland from some other country.  This means that you must establish permanent residence in Finland or that your employment in Finland must be sufficiently extensive. Further, unless you are an EU citizen, you must have a valid permit allowing you to work in Finland.

If you come to work in Finland and you have an employment contract for work you will be performing in Finland, and if there are other factors indicating that you intend to establish residence in Finland, you can gain coverage under the Finnish social security system as soon as you move to Finland.

If you come to work but not to live in Finland, your coverage under the Finnish social security system is dependent on your employment in Finland lasting at least 4 months and meeting certain statutory minimum requirements.

If you are posted to work in Finland, you are not eligible for the benefits provided under the relevant social security agreement. You may become eligible for benefits from Finland if you are considered to have established residence in Finland. This requires that your general circumstances - not just employment - indicate that you are resident in Finland.

Eligibility of self-employed persons for coverage under the Finnish social security system

Only the agreements with Canada, Quebec and Israel contain provisions on the eligibility for coverage under the Finnish social security system for self-employed persons.  For self-employed persons arriving in Finland from some other country which has a social security agreement with Finland, coverage under the Finnish social security system is decided in the same way as for self-employed persons coming from some other country. You can qualify for coverage under the Finnish social security system if you work as a self-employed person in Finland and you are liable to take out pension insurance for self-employed persons. Usually this requires you to be a permanent resident of Finland.

 

Example

An Argentine company sends B, a citizen of Argentina, to work in Finland for 18 months at the company's Finnish subsidiary. B is accompanied to Finland by her family. B is considered to move to Finland permanently and qualifies for social security coverage in Finland from the beginning of her employment. This goes for her accompanying family members as well.

Example

C, who comes from India, works in Finland for a Finnish company from 1 June 2014 until 30 April 2015. C.'s residence in Finland is intended to be temporary, so she is not covered by the residence-based social security system operated by Kela. However, as an employee, she is entitled to most Kela benefits as long as she meets benefit-specific qualifying conditions. Such benefits include reimbursements of medical expenses and the allowances available under the Health Insurance Act. In March, A's employment contract is extended by a year with effect from 1 May 2015. Through this change, she becomes a permanent resident of Finland and, as a resident, becomes eligible for Kela benefits as soon as her contract of employment is extended.

Additional information

Last modified 24/04/2015
Updated 24/04/2015