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Quick guide for self-employed persons

Self-employed persons are entitled to the same benefits as employees. The reported income under the YEL (Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act) or MYEL (Farmers’ Pensions Act) pension insurance schemes for self-employed persons affects daily allowances, unemployment allowances and pensions.

The quick guide gives you an overview of important issues at different stages during your entrepreneurship.

Starting a business

From unemployed to self-employed

Check if you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you are unemployed and you are starting a business.

Founding a company

When you start a company you must, among other things, take care of the bank and taxation matters, insurance issues, bookkeeping and financial administration of your company.

Light entrepreneurs are also self-employed persons

If you use an invoicing service, i.e. you work as a light entrepreneur, your work has to be insured under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL). As a light entrepreneur, you are a self-employed person also as regards Kela benefits. 

Pension insurance affects your pension and social security

Self-employed persons have to arrange pension insurance for themselves by taking out insurance under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL) or the Farmers’ Pensions Act (MYEL). Pension insurance affects the amount of most benefits paid by Kela.

Remember the unemployment benefits

You can prepare for possible unemployment by becoming a member of an unemployment fund. Kela pays unemployment benefits to self-employed persons who are not members of an unemployment fund. 

As self-employed person from another country to Finland

If you come to Finland as a self-employed person, you are, on certain conditions, entitled to benefits from Kela if you have taken out pension insurance for self-employed persons.

Everyday life for self-employed persons

Remember to maintain your work capacity

You can arrange occupational health services for yourself and Kela reimburses part of the costs for this. Self-employed persons are also entitled to rehabilitation and rehabilitation allowance.

Changes in life situation

Illness, impaired work capacity or the birth of a child may affect the self-employed person’s everyday life. Self-employed persons are entitled to the same benefits as employees.

If your income is small

If you need help with housing costs or if your incomes decrease to such an extent that you are not able to support yourself, you may be entitled to general housing allowance or social assistance. However, please note that you cannot get financial support for the entrepreneurial activity from Kela.

Self-employment abroad

If you work as a self-employed person in another EU country, you will normally be covered by the social security system of the country of employment. If you work temporarily in another EU country or in a country outside the EU area, you may be entitled to Kela benefits.

If you hire an employee

A self-employed person who acts as employer may have to handle Kela-related matters as regards for instance parental leaves or sick leaves of the employees. You must also arrange occupational health services for your employees. Kela reimburses a share of the costs for occupational healthcare.

Guidance and information for self-employed persons

Guidance is provided by for instance different organisations for self-employed persons. Suomen Yrittäjät provides guidance and information as well as publishes guides for self-employed persons. 

Ending self-employment

Ending entrepreneurial activity

If you become unemployed when the self-employment ends, register as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE Services. Apply for unemployment benefits from Kela or from your unemployment fund.


Pensions for self-employed persons are granted and paid by authorised pension providers. If your earnings-related pension is small, the national pension provided by Kela can supplement it.

Last modified 23/6/2022

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