Concepts: Sickness allowance statistics

Statistical units


A recipient is a person who during the reference period was paid sickness allowance, sickness allowance in accordance with the YEL scheme, partial sickness allowance, sickness allowance in respect of infectious disease, or sickness allowance for organ and tissue donors.

New period of payment

A new period of payment is considered to have commenced when an insured person begins to receive sickness allowance after completing the waiting period (the first day of illness and the following nine working days). Because a single period of sickness allowance cannot last more than 300 working days, all periods of payment that begin in a certain year end in the same or following year, with certain few exceptions. The maximum period of payment of the partial sickness allowance is 120 working days.

Days of payment

The number of days of payment is the number of working days (6 per week) for which there have been allowance payments in the reference period.

Benefit expenditure

The benefit expenditure statistics concern the euro amount of the allowances paid in the reference period. In the event that the sickness allowance is a secondary benefit, it is paid only if the other statutory compensation is smaller than the allowance available under National Health Insurance (in which case the difference is paid as the sickness allowance). This means that the statistics on days of payment do not include days on which the allowance available under National Health Insurance is smaller than another statutory compensation.

The fact that the sickness allowance can be secondary to another compensation affects the statistics on benefit expenditure also in the event that the allowance is larger than the other statutory compensation. In that case, only the euro amount of the difference between the allowance and the other compensation is shown in the statistics.

The statistical units used are recipient, eligible child, days of payment and benefit expenditure.

Statistical classifications


Recorded as the recipient’s age at the end of the reference year.


The recipient’s municipality of residence is recorded as at the end of the reference period. Data on recipients is available by region and by hospital district according to the recipients’ municipality of residence.

For better comparability, some data have been adjusted for population size. The population data are based on Kela’s database of general data, which is updated with data from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency concerning changes in the population. The population data represent the year-end situation.

Diagnosed illness

The diagnostic code for the illness causing disability for work is recorded at the beginning of each period of sickness allowance payment.

The diagnoses and the diagnostic codes are based on the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), which was adopted in Finland at the beginning of 1996. It is based on the previous edition (ICD-9). The classification was changed significantly for example by the introduction of symptom-cause associations in the diagnoses. However, only cause-denoting diagnoses are used in Kela’s benefit administration systems. Due to the adoption of the new classification, pre-1996 statistics which are based on the older classification are not directly comparable with the statistics adhering to the new classification.

Illnesses are shown in the sickness allowance statistics either at the level of the main diagnostic category or the individual diagnosis/diagnostic category. The diagnoses and diagnostic categories have been selected with a view to their relevance for the sickness allowance.

Occupation and professional status

Data on the recipient’s occupation is recorded at the beginning of the sickness allowance payment period for insured persons included in the permanent sample under the National Health Insurance scheme.

Kela has since 2014 applied the National Classification of Occupations 2010, which is based on the ISCO-08 classification compiled by the International Labour Organization and adopted by the United Nations. The classification is based on the concept of occupational skill, which comprises two dimensions: skill level and skill specialisation. The classification used in 1988–2013 was based on the Nordic Classification of Occupations.

The occupation of a person applying for sickness allowance is recorded as the occupation he or she has most recently practised. If an applicant has not practised any occupation in the five years preceding the time of application, ‘no occupation’ is recorded. In order to qualify as having practised an occupation, the person must have carried out at least three hours of part-time work lasting at least four months in a given year.