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Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

Employees and self-employed persons who stay in an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are usually entitled to social security coverage in their country of employment, regardless of the duration of the employment or their country of residence. You will be covered by the social security system of your country of employment if your employment meets the minimum requirements regarding, for instance, working hours and pay. The requirements vary from country to country. Persons working in an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are usually entitled to the same social security coverage and the same benefits as the citizens of the country of employment. Learn more about the payment of benefits.

Example

Anna from Finland signs an open-ended contract of employment with a Danish company and moves to Denmark. Her family stays behind in Finland. Anna is then covered under the Danish social security system since her employment in Denmark meets the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment in Denmark.

The entitlement to social security coverage in Finland for persons who work in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom is determined on the basis of the duration and purpose of the stay abroad. If the employment abroad lasts for a maximum of 6 months, you are usually still entitled to Kela benefits. Persons who work abroad for more than 6 months cannot receive benefits, unless there are special grounds for the payment of the benefit, e.g. a posting abroad.

While working in a country outside the EU you may also be entitled to social security coverage in your country of employment, even if you simultaneously receive benefits from Finland. Always check beforehand with the authorities in your country of employment what the requirements are for coverage under the social security system.

Example

Ville moves to South Africa to work for 5 months. He is joined by his family. Ville and his family maintain their entitlement to social security coverage in Finland, because their stay abroad will last less than 6 months. This means that they will be eligible for those Kela benefits that are payable abroad. Benefits not payable abroad include the general housing allowance and the child home care allowance.

If Ville's family were to move to South Africa on a permanent basis, their social security coverage in Finland would end effective of their date of moving from Finland.

Persons who work in a country with a social security agreement with Finland should check the relevant social security agreement. Coverage under the social security system is usually determined on the basis of the duration of the stay abroad and the benefits that the social security agreement concerns.

Short-term employment abroad

Persons who work abroad for a very short period or in low-paid jobs (e.g. trainees and au pairs) will not necessarily become entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment. Short-term employment and low-paid jobs usually do not meet the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment. In such cases you may be entitled to Kela benefits if you stay abroad for a maximum of 6 months.

Example

As a part of his higher education studies, Markus completes a period of on-the-job training with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Finnish embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The training lasts three months. As Markus has a short-term employment of less than six months, he is entitled to residence-based social security benefits from Kela during his training.

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