Social security coverage in certain special circumstances

Aid workers

The entitlement of aid workers abroad to coverage under the Finnish social security system depends on the development aid project they work for. An aid worker is entitled to social security coverage in Finland if the project they work for either receives funding from development aid appropriations in the Finnish State budget or the Finnish government participates in the project through the activity of an international organization.

Aid workers who work in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or a country that has a social security agreement with Finland can be covered under the Finnish social security system for a maximum of 5 years. Missionary workers are subject to the same rules as other employees posted abroad. The requirement is that you were covered under the Finnish system immediately before you started your employment outside Finland. You must, together with your employer, notify Kela of the work abroad.

Example

Lotta is going to participate in a development aid project in Namibia. The project is planned to last for at least three years; if additional funding is approved for the project, the duration may even be over four years. Lotta is entitled to social security benefits provided by Kela during the time she works for the project because development aid workers are entitled to Kela benefits for up to five years. If the project lasts more than five years, Lotta will no longer be entitled to social security coverage in Finland, unless she returns to Finland for at least six months at some point during these five years.

Persons employed in several countries at the same time

Persons who live in Finland and work simultaneously in Finland and another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are usually entitled to social security coverage in Finland. In such a case, you may be entitled to benefits from Kela. However, if your employment in Finland is not significant (significant here meaning a minimum of 25 %) you will be covered by the social security system of the country where your employer is domiciled.

For persons who work simultaneously in several countries, the Finnish Centre for Pensions determines whether the employee is entitled to social security benefits in Finland. Apply for a certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. Work on board a vessel flying the flag of an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom is considered comparable to work in an EU or EEA country.

The right to coverage under the Finnish social security system for persons who work simultaneously in several countries outside the EU or EEA area, Switzerland or the United Kingdom is determined on the basis of the duration of the stay abroad. The situation is evaluated on the same grounds as for persons who work in one country. Employees posted abroad by a Finnish employer must, together with the employer, notify Kela of the posting abroad. The notification must be filed in connection with the return to Finland  at the latest.

Flight personnel and other travelling personnel

When working in EU and EEA countries, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, flight personnel are entitled to social security coverage in the Member State where their home base is located. The home base is the place where a period of work normally starts and ends and where the employer is not liable to arrange accommodation.

Example

Fabian is from Sweden and works as a steward in Helsinki. He lives in Helsinki, and his flights to different destinations in the EU depart from Helsinki. As Fabian’s home base is Helsinki, he is entitled to social security coverage in Finland. His employer must apply for a certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) for Fabian indicating coverage under the Finnish social security system during the work abroad.

The travelling personnel of other kinds of transportation companies are governed by the same principles as others who work in several countries. For instance, lorry drivers are considered travelling personnel of transportation companies.

Example

Agnes is a lorry driver who lives in Estonia but works for a Finnish transport company. She transports freight from Finland to Sweden and further via Denmark to Germany. Since Agnes does not work at all in her country of residence, Estonia, the country that is responsible for her social security benefits is determined according to the country where the employer is headquartered. In this case Finland is responsible for the social security coverage.

Her employer must apply for a certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) for Agnes indicating coverage under the Finnish social security system during the work abroad.

The entitlement to social security coverage in Finland for persons who work in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or a country that has a social security agreement with Finland is determined on the basis of whether the stay abroad is temporary or permanent. Employees sent abroad by a Finnish employer must, together with the employer, notify Kela of the posting abroad. The notification should be made in connection with the return to Finland at the latest.

Seamen

Seamen are covered under the social security system of the country whose flag the vessel is flying. This is called the flag state principle. Those who work on board a vessel flying the flag of another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are thus usually entitled to social security coverage in that country.

If your country of residence and the country in which the company that pays your wages is headquartered are one and the same EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, but you serve on a vessel flying the flag of another country, the flag state principle is not applied. In that case, you are covered under the social security system of your country of residence. If you live in Finland and your wages are paid from Finland, you should apply to the Finnish Centre for Pensions for an A1 certificate proving that you are covered under the Finnish social security system while serving on board a foreign vessel. Always notify Kela if you work on board a vessel flying the flag of another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.

Example

Ville works on a cruise liner sailing under Swedish flag. However, Ville lives in Finland and his wage is paid by the cruise liner company’s office in Finland. In such cases, the so called flag state principle for seamen is waived and Ville is entitled to social security coverage in Finland. His employer must apply for a certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) for Ville indicating coverage under the Finnish social security system during the work abroad.

The right to social security coverage for seamen who work on board a vessel flying the flag of a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or an agreement country is determined on the basis of whether the person is considered to be resident in Finland. This also applies to persons working in a country that has a social security agreement with Finland, if the benefit in question is not covered by the agreement. Seamen who are still domiciled in Finland and spend most of their time in Finland on a continuous basis are covered under the Finnish social security system. If you do not live in Finland on a permanent basis, you are not be eligible for benefits from Kela.

Persons who are employed on a Finnish vessel under the Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act can qualify for coverage under the Finnish social security system even if they are not resident in Finland.

Cross-border workers

A cross-border worker is a person who works in an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, but who does not live in the country of employment. Cross-border workers regularly return to their country of residence daily or at least once per week. Cross-border work must be reported to Kela.

Cross-border workers who work in an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are covered under the social security system of the country of employment regardless of their country of residence. This means that you are eligible for benefits from your country of employment as long as you satisfy the minimum requirements for pay and length of employment. You cannot be covered under the Finnish social security system at the same time.

Example

Alexandra is a Finnish nurse from Tornio. She works in Haparanda in Sweden at the local health centre, but she lives in Tornio in Finland. As her country of employment is Sweden, she is entitled to social security coverage in Sweden. Despite this, Alexandra is also entitled to claim some social security benefits provided by Kela, such as housing allowance and maternity grant, on the basis of her residence in Finland.

Cross-border workers who live in Finland and work in another Member State may be entitled to certain benefits from Finland. Such benefits include housing allowance and maternity grant.

Cross-border workers who work in a country other than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or an agreement country are covered under the Finnish social security system if they are permanently resident in Finland. They are entitled to coverage under the Finnish social security system if they spend most of their time in Finland.