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Information about social security for the self-employed

AnkkuriWho is self-employed?

A self-employed person is someone who is gainfully employed without being in an employment relationship or in civil service. Self-employed persons must obtain pension insurance cover by paying contributions to a pension scheme for self-employed persons. Having pension insurance cover also has consequences for social security, including the sickness allowances, daily allowances for parents and rehabilitation allowances available from Kela.

Self-employed persons take out insurance under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL) (tyoelake.fi). Farmers take out insurance under the Farmers’ Pensions Act (MYEL) (mela.fi). Farmers include farmers, fishermen, reindeer herders and forest owners. Grant recipients may also be required to take out insurance under MYEL (mela.fi).

Part-time self-employed or light entrepreneur

If your income from self-employment reaches a certain level, you must also obtain pension insurance cover in the following situations:

  • You are self-employed on a part-time basis and that is not your primary source of income.
  • You are a light entrepreneur and are registered with an invoicing service.
  • You are a freelancer with many clients.

What do a self-employed person’s income and health insurance contributions consist of?

As self-employed, you must estimate your annual income from employment for purposes of your pension insurance for self-employed persons. In addition to your pension, your income affects the amount of the benefits available from Kela and your right to unemployment benefits. Read more about a self-employed person’s income and health insurance contributions. 

AnkkuriWhat benefits can self-employed persons get from Kela?

As a self-employed person, you can get the same benefits from Kela as employees. You can also get reimbursements if you have arranged occupational health services for yourself.

Daily allowances, such as daily allowances for parents and sickness allowance, are determined on the basis of your reported income under the YEL or MYEL pension insurance schemes. Regarding some Kela benefits, such as social assistance, we may perform a profitability analysis on your business before granting the benefit.

Kela sends information about the benefits paid out to the Incomes Register within five days of the date of payment. 

Take a look at the most common situations where you as a self-employed person may need Kela benefits:

AnkkuriAre you about to hire an employee?

As an employer, you have to take care of many things related to Kela benefits. When you apply for Kela’s daily allowances and compensations for your employees, you are acting in the role of an employer. 

You are required by law to arrange preventive occupational healthcare such as medical examinations for your employees. Additionally, you can offer your employees medical care, i.e. the possibility to visit an occupational health physician. Kela will reimburse your business for approximately half of the occupational healthcare costs. For more information on arranging occupational healthcare, see the Employers section. Please note that the Employers section is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

As an employer, you must report wages and salaries to the Incomes Register, pay health insurance contributions and inform Kela or the Finnish Centre for Pensions if you send an employee abroad. For more information on arranging occupational healthcare, see the Employers section. Please note that the Employers section is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

As an employer, you must

For more information, see the Employers section. Please note that the Employers section is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

Kela can pay you benefits if you pay a wage or salary while your employee is

As an employer, you can also receive compensations related to your employees’ family leaves. These include compensation for annual leave costs (in Finnish) and compensation for family leave costs (in Finnish). For more information, see the Employers section. Please note that the Employers section is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

You can handle almost all Kela-related matters that concern the employer easily online: 

For more information on e-services, see the Employers section. Please note that the Employers section is only available in Finnish and Swedish. Another way to apply for Kela benefits is to use a paper form

Additionally, Kela provides customer service by chat and phone (in Finnish or Swedish). In matters that are not urgent, you can also ask for advice by secure email (in Finnish or Swedish).

Self-employment in Finland and abroad

Self-employment in Finland

If you move to Finland as a self-employed person, you may be entitled to Kela benefits on certain conditions. In order to be eligible, you must be insured under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL insurance).

If you move to Finland as a self-employed person from a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you must also have a valid residence permit. 

Check what information Kela has about your residence and employment in Finland in the OmaKela e-service (available in Finnish and Swedish)

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. 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 their 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. If you are covered by the social security system of the country of employment, you cannot receive benefits from Finland at the same time.

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. Read more about the payment of benefits. 

Self-employed persons working temporarily abroad may be entitled to Kela benefits if they are so-called posted self-employed persons.  

In order to be considered a posted self-employed person, the person has to meet all the following criteria:  

  • usually carry out self-employment in Finland
  • temporarily go to work in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom
  • carry out similar self-employment activities abroad as in Finland. 

The posted self-employed person must apply to the Finnish Centre for Pensions for an A1 certificate. The certificate shows that you are entitled to Kela benefits. 

You must also apply for an A1 certificate if you work remotely from abroad. If you do not have an A1 certificate, your right to social security is determined according to the legislation of the country of employment. 

If you work as a self-employed person in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you may be entitled to benefits from Kela for a maximum of one year. However, you must have valid pension insurance coverage under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL). Report your employment to Kela. 

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

If self-employment ends

If your self-employment ends, for instance because you stop working in your business or you retire, you may be eligible for benefits from Kela. Read more about ending self-employment.

Do you still have questions?

Call Kela's customer service.

 

Last modified 14/5/2024