If you become unemployed
Register as an unemployed jobseeker
- you become unemployed
- you are temporarily laid off
- you complete your studies and you do not have a full-time job.
Register as unemployed at the latest on the first day of unemployment or temporary lay-off. You can only get an unemployment benefit if you have registered as an unemployed jobseeker.
There are three types of unemployment benefit:
- earnings-related unemployment allowance
- basic unemployment allowance
labour market subsidy.
The unemployment benefits are also called income security for the unemployed.
TE Services or the municipality draw up an employment plan together with you. Comply with the requirements of the employment plan and report the data agreed in the plan in the e-services of TE Services.
What do Kela and TE Services do?
When you have registered as an unemployed jobseeker, TE Services will investigate your situation and issue a labour policy statement to Kela. The statement indicates whether you are an unemployed jobseeker and whether there is any hindrance to paying unemployment benefits. The hindrance may concern, for example,
- full-time study
- valid full-time employment relationship
- self-employment on a full-time basis
- your unwillingness to accept a full-time job offer.
If there, according to the statement, is a hindrance to paying unemployment benefits, you cannot be granted an unemployment benefit.
TE Services also investigates what you did before the unemployment started. If you for instance have stopped working without an acceptable reason, TE Services can order a mandatory waiting period for you, i.e. a period for which you will not be paid unemployment benefit.
If you are under 25 years old and you do not have vocational qualifications or a higher education degree, TE Services also investigates whether you have applied for at least two places of study.
You can only receive unemployment benefits if you are available for work on the labour market.
Payment of unemployment benefits is hindered by for instance
- compulsory military and non-military service
- prison sentence
- hospital or other institutional care
- other comparable reason.
When you receive an unemployment benefit, you must inform Kela immediately if your situation changes.
Kela provides two different unemployment benefits. Even though their amounts are usually the same, their entitlement criteria are different.
When you apply for an unemployment benefit from Kela, you do not have to know whether to apply for labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance. They are applied for on the same form. We will check your employment history and whether you meet the work requirement. If you meet the work requirement, you will receive basic unemployment allowance. If you do not meet the work requirement, you will get a decision on labour market subsidy.
If the labour policy statement does not indicate any hindrance to paying unemployment benefits to you, Kela will check whether a qualifying period of 5 months will be applied to the labour market subsidy. The qualifying period will only be checked if you do not have vocational qualifications or a higher education degree (the matriculation examination is not a vocational qualification). The qualifying period concerns jobseekers of all ages.
In 2021–2024 some unemployed jobseekers will participate in . This means that their municipality will help the jobseeker look for work and training. The jobseeker will thus contact the authorities in the municipality of residence instead of TE Services in unemployment-related issues. The municipality draws up an employment plan together with the jobseeker and issues labour policy statements regarding the jobseeker.
In 2025 the employment and economic development services will be transferred to the municipalities completely.
Where and how to apply for unemployment benefits
The payment of unemployment benefits will not start automatically after you have registered as a jobseeker. You must apply for unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund or Kela.
If you are not a member of an unemployment fund or if you have not been a member long enough, you should apply for unemployment benefit from Kela. More detailed application instructions are available on the web pages about the and .
When your application is pending with the unemployment fund, you cannot apply for unemployment benefit from Kela at the same time. Wait until you get a decision from the unemployment fund.
If the decision from the unemployment fund is negative because you do not meet the work requirement, you can apply for unemployment benefit from Kela. If the unemployment fund does not grant the benefit for some other reason, you cannot receive unemployment benefit from Kela either. In such a case, you may be entitled to from Kela.
The unemployment benefit has a waiting period
You must have been registered as an unemployed jobseeker with TE Services for at least 7 working days in order to qualify for unemployment benefit. This is your waiting period. The waiting period does not have to be continuous. The days of unemployment for a maximum of 8 consecutive calendar weeks can be included.
The waiting period is based on law, and you cannot receive unemployment benefit for this time.
For those who work part-time, the waiting period is calculated by deducting the working hours during the calendar week from the maximum working hours according to the collective agreement. When these hours amount to 7 working days, the waiting period has been completed.
The waiting period to qualify for labour market subsidy is applied once. If you go directly from basic unemployment allowance or earnings-related unemployment allowance to labour market subsidy, there is no new waiting period.
The waiting period to qualify for basic unemployment allowance is applied always when a for the basic unemployment allowance starts. One exception to this is when less than one year has past since the previous waiting period. In this case, no new waiting period is applied.
Antti becomes unemployed in January. He meets the work requirement, and so he applies for basic unemployment allowance. The basic unemployment allowance is payable after completion of a waiting period. Antti starts a part-time job in March, and the days of part-time work count towards the work requirement. He meets the work requirement again in November when a new maximum payment period of 400 days for the basic unemployment allowance starts. However, no waiting period is applied since less than one year has past since the previous waiting period.
Outi works part-time and applies for adjusted labour market subsidy from Kela for each calendar month. She meets the work requirement on 15 January. Outi is not a member of an unemployment fund, so she receives basic unemployment allowance from Kela starting 16 January. The basic unemployment allowance starts with a waiting period of 7 days.
In Outi’s line of industry the maximum working hours are 40 hours per week, so the waiting period is completed after 40 hours of unemployment. For the days on which Outi does not work at all, 8 hours count towards the waiting period. For instance if she works 6 hours per day, 2 hours count towards the waiting period. Outi does not manage to complete the waiting period of 40 hours by the end of January, so the waiting period continues at the beginning of February until Outi completes the hours requires for the waiting period.
If you receive a negative decision on the unemployment benefit
If you are not granted unemployment benefit, you should find out if you can receive some other benefit from Kela, for instance sickness allowance or social assistance.
Unemployment in different life situations
Register as a jobseeker immediately after graduating, if you do not have a job or if you work part-time.
If you graduated from an institute of vocational education or a higher education institution, you can receive unemployment benefit after a waiting period of 7 working days.
If you completed upper secondary school education and you do not meet the work requirement, your entitlement to labour market subsidy starts after a qualifying period of 5 months. Only the time when you are registered as a jobseeker with TE Services counts towards the qualifying period. It is important that you register as a jobseeker immediately after graduating and that you stay registered as a jobseeker the whole time.
If you are less than 25 years of age, unemployed, and you do not have vocational qualifications or a higher education degree, you are obliged to apply for a place of study in the spring. The matriculation examination is not counted as a vocational qualification. Apply for at least 2 places of study
- where the studies start in the autumn
- which lead to a degree or qualification.
The education programme need not be included in the joint application period. If you are invited to the entrance exam, you must participate.
TE Services will impose an obligation of employment if
- you do not apply for admission to education
- you turn down a place of study
- you interrupt your studies.
The obligation of employment means that you will not receive unemployment benefit while unemployed. Your entitlement to an unemployment benefit is restored if one of the following criteria is met:
- you complete vocational qualifications or a higher education degree
- you work for 21 calendar weeks in a job that is
- you participate in for 21 calendar weeks
- you study on a full-time basis for 21 calendar weeks
- you work as a self-employed person or independent entrepreneur on a full-time basis for a total of 21 calendar weeks
- you turn 25 years old.
Even if you do not receive unemployment benefit while unemployed, you can get unemployment benefit for periods of participation in employment promoting services. By participating in the services, you can complete the obligation of employment. In that case, we will investigate the other entitlement criteria for unemployment benefit. If you do not have an occupation, your labour market subsidy may further entail a qualifying period of 21 weeks.
Example of completing an obligation of employment
Minna, 20 years, took her matriculation examination in the spring. She did not apply for at least 2 places of study where the studies start in the autumn, so TE Services imposed an obligation of employment on 1 September.
Minna agreed with TE Services on a job try-out, during which she received labour market subsidy from Kela even though she would not have received it while unemployed. The job try-out lasted 10 weeks, so Minna has now completed 10 weeks towards the obligation of employment of 21 weeks. Next Minna starts rehabilitative work activity that lasts 11 weeks, and she receives labour market subsidy also for this time.
After that, Minna has completed the 21-week obligation of employment. Minna does not have an occupation, so Kela also has to investigate whether a qualifying period of 5 months will be applied to the labour market subsidy.
Compulsory education continues until you reach the age of 18 years.
You can receive labour market subsidy, if you are 17 years of age and you already have vocational qualifications. You cannot receive basic unemployment allowance, since work performed before the age of 18 years does not count towards the work requirement.
If you are 17 years of age and you have completed upper secondary school education, you can only receive labour market subsidy if you participate in employment promoting services.
You can also get labour market subsidy if you have had to interrupt the completion of compulsory education for instance because of a long-term illness.
Persons aged under 17 years cannot receive unemployment benefit under any circumstances.