Flexible care allowance

You can work for 30 hours per week or less and for the rest of the time look after your child under 3 years, in which case you can receive flexible care allowance from Kela.

The amount of the flexible care allowance is determined on the basis of the number of working hours. The flexible care allowance is taxable income.

Please note that the extension of working hours implemented in 2017 as part of the competitiveness pact may affect the flexible care allowance if the extension is carried out in your workplace by increasing the weekly working time.

Kela pays flexible care allowance for one child at a time.

Eligibility

  • The father, mother or other legal guardian of a child under 3 years of age (this also applies to adoptive and same-sex parents)
  • Both parents at the same time if they make work arrangements that allow them to look after the child at different times (e.g. one parent on Mondays and the other on Fridays, or one parent in the morning and the other in the afternoon).
  • A parent who does not live in the same household as the child.

The flexible care allowance can be paid to a parent who

  • works no more than 30 hours per week on average or no more than 80% of normal full-time hours. For the allowance to be granted it is sufficient that either one of the criteria is met.
  • has an employment contract with a public- or private-sector employer
  • is a self-employed person with valid pension insurance under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL) or the Farmers' Pensions Act (MYEL)
  • is a grant recipient and insured under the MYEL Act.

The flexible care allowance cannot be paid to a parent who

  • is paid special maternity, maternity, paternity or parental allowance
  • looks after the child personally and is paid child home care allowance
  • is paid partial care allowance for one of the children in the family
  • does casual work without being in continuous employment.
  • falls ill and is on sick leave for at least 4 weeks without interruption (short sick leaves do not affect the benefit). The entitlement to flexible care allowance ends when the incapacity for work starts.

Maximum payment period

Flexible care allowance can be paid until the child reaches the age of 3 years. The flexible care allowance is not paid for periods shorter than one month. But if the flexible care allowance and other child care benefits have been granted for at least one month in total, the flexible care allowance can, however, also be granted for a shorter period than one month. The allowance period does not have to start from the beginning of the month.

The working time arrangements must be agreed between the parent and his or her employer. The arrangement whereby the parent works no more than 30 hours per week on average can be continued beyond the child's 3rd birthday. However, the flexible care allowance is not paid once the child has reached age 3. Parents of a child in the 1st or 2nd year of school can be paid partial care allowance if they work no more than 30 hours for child care reasons. Both the father and the mother can receive flexible care allowance. They must stay away from work and look after their child at different times, however.

Flexible care allowance can be paid at the same time, for instance, with private day care allowance, or if the child is in municipal day care.

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