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Who can claim sickness allowance

You can get sickness allowance if you are aged 16–67 years and you cannot do your regular work because of an illness.

If you are under 68 years of age, receive a pension, and in gainful employment, you may be entitled to a sickness allowance.

If an employer continues to pay an employee during a leave of absence, the sickness allowance is usually claimed by the employer. In such cases Kela pays the sickness allowance to the employer.

If necessary, Kela will ask you to provide further information or to submit a claim. Visit the OmaKela e-service if you wish to see the information that your employer has provided to Kela. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish. You will also be given a written decision on any claim submitted by your employer.

The length of the paid sick leave is defined in sectoral collective agreements. If your absence from work continues, and you do not receive sick pay from your employer, Kela pays the sickness allowance to you. If the sick pay provided by your employer is smaller than the sickness allowance available from Kela, Kela pays you the difference.

For further information about paid sick leave, contact the person responsible for pay and compensation matters at your workplace.

If you feel that you are able to work part time despite your incapacity, talk to your employer and your occupational health care provider. You may be eligible for a partial sickness allowance.

Statement from the occupational health doctor is required after 90 days of sickness allowance

You may be able to get sickness allowance based on a statement from a doctor of your choice. In the event of prolonged illness a statement from an occupational health doctor is required as well. The occupational health doctor evaluates your remaining capacity for work. With your cooperation, your employer and occupational health care provider evaluate your ability to continue working.

You must provide  Kela a statement from your occupational health doctor by the time you have been paid sickness allowance for 90 working days. The statement is required so that you can continue to be paid sickness allowance after 90 days.

If needed, the occupational health care provider can also assess your ability to continue working once you have received sickness allowance for 150 and 230 days. Submit the occupational health care provider’s statement to Kela. Unlike with the 90-day rule, payment of the allowance can continue even if this statement has not been submitted.

If you are self-employed and insured under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL) or the Farmers' Pensions Act (MYEL), you can get sickness allowance. Sickness allowance may also be available to self-employed persons whose self-employment is of limited scope and who are not required to take out YEL or MYEL insurance.

If you feel that you are able to work part time, talk to a doctor who is familiar with the kind of work you do and the circumstances at your workplace. Learn more about the possibility to receive a partial sickness allowance.

Grant recipients

If you are paid a scholarship or grant, you may be eligible for sickness allowance if you are unable, because of an illness, to carry out work for which you were awarded the scholarship or grant. Indicate in your claim who pays you the scholarship or grant, and describe the kind of work you do. Also explain how your illness prevents you from doing the work.

As a scholarship or grant recipient you are probably insured by the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution (Mela.fi) under the Farmers' Pension Insurance (MYEL) scheme. In that case Mela can pay you a daily allowance during the waiting period for the sickness allowance. Additional information about the MYEL insurance is available from Mela

If you are an unemployed job-seeker you can receive sickness allowance. You can be paid unemployment allowance while you are completing the waiting period required to qualify for sickness allowance.

Provide Kela with a medical certificate concerning your incapacity for work and tell the Employment and Economic Development Office about your incapacity. Also write in the days of incapacity in your unemployment status report. The sickness allowance cannot be paid at the same time as unemployment benefits.

Receiving sickness allowance does not count against the 400-day maximum limit for basic or earnings-related unemployment allowance.

Your entitlement to sickness allowance is evaluated in the context of the work you did before becoming unemployed. Remember to write your occupation on the claim. Include in the claim also information about such work. The job search plan drawn up at the TE office lists the specific fields you are interested in and the kind of work you are seeking. 

If you fall ill during your studies, you can claim sickness allowance. An illness of a short duration and diminished academic performance do not disqualify you for financial aid.

If you are granted sickness allowance, you can continue to take out financial aid until the time you are paid the allowance. You retain your eligibility for financial aid for any calendar month in which you are paid sickness allowance for 17 days or less. In that case your study grant is deducted from your sickness allowance.

Financial aid is discontinued from the beginning of the month in which you receive sickness allowance for 18 days or more. Any sickness allowance paid wholly or in part to you prevents you from getting financial aid. If you have received financial aid and sickness allowance for the same period of time, the financial aid will be recovered from you.

You can study a certain amount while receiving sickness allowance. This means completing up to 40% of the targeted study progress for the term or academic year. Talk to your doctor about continuing your studies and any rehabilitation you might need.

Working while studying

If you work while studying and are paid by your employer while you are ill, the sickness allowance will be paid to your employer up to the amount of your pay. If the sickness allowance is paid entirely to your employer, you can get financial aid even if your employer is paid the allowance for 18 days or longer. Read more about sickness allowance for students.


If you are under 68 years of age, receive a pension, and in gainful employment, you may be entitled to a sickness allowance.

Job alternation leave

If you are on job alternation leave, your fitness for work is evaluated in the context of the work you did before the leave. If you do some other kind of work while on job alternation leave, your fitness for work is evaluated in the context of that work. In your claim, explain the type of work that you do.

Family caregivers and foster care providers

If you are a family caregiver or foster care provider, explain in the claim you submit to Kela the types of things you do as a caregiver and what arrangements have been put in place to ensure the care of your family member or foster child during your illness.

Managing your own household

If you manage your own household, describe the tasks involved and explain how your illness prevents you from managing your household. In such situations, the ability of the person on care leave to manage their household and care for their children is assessed. Describe in your claim what arrangements have been made with regard to your household and child care tasks for the duration of your illness.

Last modified 6/6/2023

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