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Supporting work capacity

After a short sick leave, returning to work, school or the labour market is generally not a problem. However, a longer absence may require more detailed planning.

A return-to-work plan is drawn up by the employer, the employee and the occupational health provider

Even during a lengthy sickness absence, it is a good idea to remain in contact with your workplace. What kind of measures could be useful in supporting your work capacity is a question that should be brought up early on. It is also useful to agree on how you can stay in touch with your workplace. That way the arrangements enabling you to return to work, such as changes in your schedule and responsibilities, can be made flexibly.

Planning for a return to work should start with the occupational health provider. The management of medical incapacity for work is a responsibility of the employer and the occupational health provider. Your employer and immediate supervisor play a big role in supporting your return to work. Many workplaces have set up plans and guidelines to support the return to work.

Options for supporting the return to work

Kela can

  • provide a partial sickness allowance to an employee or self-employed person who returns to work on a part-time basis after a medical leave of absence.
  • arrange for access to rehabilitation that promotes health and minimises the negative effects of an illness (e.g., rehabilitation courses and periods of individual rehabilitation)
  • provide reimbursement for the cost of rehabilitative psychotherapy
  • give persons with a short history of employment or none at all access to a vocational rehabilitation assessment or training and education

Other options:

  • Authorised pension providers can provide vocational rehabilitation for persons with a long history of employment for example in the form of retraining and services supporting work capacity.
  • Compensations for rehabilitation costs may be available from accident and motor insurance providers if the need for rehabilitation arises as a result of an accident at work, an occupational disease or a traffic injury.
  • Employment and economic development services (TE services) can pay your employer specific subsidies towards making changes in your working conditions as a result of an illness.


If you need rehabilitation, contact your doctor, occupational health doctor, or Kela. You need a medical certificate or rehabilitation plan to apply to Kela for rehabilitation.

Work capacity issues are handled primarily at the workplace and as part of the occupational health care system. The authorised pension providers and the labour administration also play a key role in work capacity management.

Kela's responsibilities are:

  • paying rehabilitation allowances
  • carrying out vocational rehabilitation assessments
  • providing access to intensive medical rehabilitation
  • assessing the need for rehabilitation
  • arranging for access to rehabilitation for persons with severe disabilities
  • providing discretionary access to medical rehabilitation
  • offering vocational rehabilitation
  • paying disability pensions under the National Pensions Act.


The institutions providing workers' compensation insurance are responsible for:

  • providing compensation for the cost of health care and rehabilitation services caused by an employment or commuting accident
  • providing compensation for loss of income due to an injury.

The authorised pension providers are responsible for:

  • along with other organisations, providing access to vocational rehabilitation for employed persons and paying them financial assistance and rehabilitation subsidy
  • paying partial and full disability pensions.

The employment and economic development services (TE services) are responsible for:

  • offering employment services and career counselling to unemployed jobseekers
  • providing access to training and vocational rehabilitation with a view to improving employment prospects.

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Last modified 5/3/2024