Social security coverage in certain situations

Aid workers

The development aid project in which the aid workers are involved must be one which is either funded by appropriations in the State budget or which the Finnish government otherwise participates in through an involvement in the activity of an international organisation.

Aid workers who work in some other country than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland 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 sent on assignments abroad. This requires that you were covered under the Finnish system before you started your employment outside Finland. You must together with the 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. During her work, Lotta is entitled to the social security benefits provided by Kela since development aid workers are entitled to Kela benefits for up to five years. If the project lasts more than five years, Lotta will after five years no longer be entitled to social security coverage in Finland, or she has to return to Finland in between for at least six months.

Persons employed in several countries at the same time

Persons who live in Finland and work simultaneously in Finland and some other EU or EEA country are usually covered under the Finnish social security system. You can receive benefits from Kela. If your employment in Finland is not significant (at least 25%) you will, however, be covered under the social security system of your employer's place of domicile.

For persons who work simultaneously in several countries, the Finnish Centre for Pensions determines whether the employee is covered under the Finnish social security system. 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 is also 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/EEA area is determined on the basis of the duration of the stay abroad. The situation is determined on the same grounds as for persons who work in one country. Workers posted abroad by the Finnish employer can apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system with Kela.

Flight personnel and other travelling personnel

When working within the EU/EEA area, flight personnel are covered under the social security system of the country in which their home base is located. The home base is the place where the period of work normally starts and ends and where the employer is not liable to arrange accommodation. 

Example

Swedish Fabian 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.

Fabian must apply for a certificate A1 on coverage under the Finnish social security system from the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus). 

The travelling personnel of other transportation companies are governed by the same principles as others who work in several countries. For instance, lorry drivers are included in the 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. Finland is responsible for the social security coverage.

A certificate A1 should be applied for with the Finnish Centre for Pensions for Agnes, indicating coverage under the Finnish social security system during the work abroad.

The right of persons who work in some other country than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or a country that has a social security agreement with Finland to coverage under the Finnish social security system is determined on the basis of whether the stay abroad is temporary or permanent in the same manner as for other employees. Workers posted abroad by the Finnish employer should together with the employer notify Kela of the posting abroad. The notification should be made at the latest in connection with the return to Finland.

Seamen

Seamen are covered under the social security system of the country whose flag the vessel is carrying. This is called the flag rule. Those who work on board a vessel carriyng the flag of another EU or EEA country are thus usually covered under the social security system of that country.

If your country of residence and the country in which your employer is registered are one and the same EU or EEA country, 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 are paid in 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 ship. Always notify Kela if you work on board a vessel carrying the flag of another EU or EEA country.

The right to social security coverage for seamen who work on board a vessel carrying the flag of some other country than an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or a country that has a social security agreement with Finland 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 system of social security. If you do not live in Finland permanently, you will 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.

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 rule for seamen is waived and Ville is entitled to social security coverage in Finland. A certificate A1 on coverage under the Finnish social security system must be applied for with the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus). 

Cross-border workers

Cross-border workers are persons who work in an EU or EEA country that is not their country of residence. These countries also include Switzerland. Cross-border workers regularly return daily or at least once per week to their country of residence. Cross-border work must be reported to Kela.

Cross-border workers who work in an EU or EEA country 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 Sweden in Haparanda 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 on the basis of her residence in Finland also entitled to claim some social security benefits provided by Kela, such as housing allowance and maternity grant. 

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

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