Three unemployment benefits
If you become unemployed, you can receive unemployment benefit from Kela or an unemployment fund. There are three different types of unemployment benefit.
Labour market subsidy
- Applied for from Kela.
- You can receive labour market subsidy if you do not meet the work requirement.
- You can also receive labour market subsidy if you have received basic unemployment allowance or earnings-related unemployment allowance for the maximum period of time.
Basic unemployment allowance
- Applied for from Kela.
- You can be paid basic unemployment allowance if you meet the work requirement.
- Can only be paid if you are not a member of an unemployment fund or if you have been a member for less than 26 weeks.
- The amount of the benefit is the same for everyone regardless of the wage or salary.
Earnings-related unemployment allowance
- Applied for from the unemployment fund.
- You receive earnings-related unemployment allowance if you are a member of an unemployment fund and you meet the work requirement.
- The benefit is determined on the basis of the wage or salary.
In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must be registered as looking for work and you must be prepared to accept a full-time job.
There will be several changes to Kela unemployment benefits in 2024
The child increases to basic unemployment allowance and labour market subsidy paid by Kela will be discontinued as of 1 April 2024. There will be changes to the work requirement for employees from 2 September 2024. The work requirement will be extended to 12 months and it will be based on wage income.
What is the work requirement?
If you are a member of an unemployment fund and you meet the work requirement, you can receive earnings-related unemployment allowance. Kela cannot pay you any unemployment benefits if you are a member of an unemployment fund and you are entitled to earnings-related unemployment allowance from the unemployment fund.
To meet the work requirement for employees, all the following criteria must be met:
- You have been in paid employment for at least 26 weeks (about 6 months) during the 28 months preceding the unemployment (known as the reference period).
- Your working hours (in one or several jobs) have been at least 18 hours per week in total.
- Your pay has been consistent with the terms of the relevant collective agreement.
If there is no relevant collective agreement, your wage or salary must have amounted to at least EUR 1,399 per month (in 2024) and EUR 1,331 per month (in 2023).
The wage or salary is considered in relation to the working hours:
- The daily wage or salary must amount to at least EUR 61.91.
- The hourly wage or salary must amount to at least EUR 7.74.
Exceptions to the work requirement
Some industries have exceptional working hours. For instance teachers can meet the work requirement with shorter working hours than other employees. For domestic workers engaged under an employment contract, athletes and artists, the work requirement is determined on the basic of the incomes.
If you have been an employee in a company owned by your family member but you do not have any ownership in the company, you must have worked for at least 52 weeks. The criteria regarding working hours and pay are the same as for other wage-earners.
If you have worked in a job for which the employer received wage subsidy, 75% of the time that you have worked is included in the work requirement. The remaining 25% extends the reference period for the work requirement, that is, the period over which your employment is checked.
To meet the work requirement for self-employed persons, the following criteria must be met:
- You must have been self-employed for at least 15 months during the 48 months preceding unemployment
- The earned income is at least EUR 14,803 in 2024 and at least EUR 14,088 in 2023.
The earned income is the sum of the income under the self-employed persons' (YEL) and farmers' (MYEL) pension insurance schemes and the income earned under the Employees Pensions Act (TyEL) while self-employed.
Self-employment that has continued for at least 4 months is included in the work requirement.
Any paid employment that counts towards the work requirement during the 28 months preceding the unemployment also counts towards the work requirement applicable to self-employed persons.
The reference period is the period of time for which your work is included in the work requirement.
Usually the reference period for employees is 28 months and for self-employed persons 48 months.
However, the period is extended by for instance
- full-time studies
- caring for a child under age 3
- participation in employment promoting services.
The maximum extension is 7 years. The longest possible reference period is thus 9 years and 4 months.
Validity of the work requirement
If you alternate between work and unemployed, you need not meet the work requirement every time.
However, if you are absent from the labour market for more than 6 months without an acceptable reason, you cannot be paid earnings-related unemployment allowance or basic unemployment allowance until you again meet the work requirement.