Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

Employees and self-employed persons who stay in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland are usually entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment regardless of the duration of the employment or their country of residence. You will be covered under the social security system of the country of employment if your employment meets the minimum requirements regarding, for instance, working hours and pay. The requirements vary from country to country.

Persons working in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland are normally entitled to the same social security coverage and the same benefits as the citizens of the country of employment. Read more about the payment of benefits.

Example

Anna from Finland signs an open-ended contract of employment with a Danish company and moves to Denmark. Her family stays behind in Finland. Anna becomes covered under the Danish social security system since her employment in Denmark meets the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment in Denmark.

The entitlement to social security coverage in Finland for persons who work in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland is determined on the basis of the duration and purpose of the stay abroad. If the employment abroad lasts for a maximum of 6 months, you are usually still entitled to Kela benefits. Persons who work abroad for more than 6 months cannot receive benefits, unless there are special grounds for the payment of the benefit, e.g. a posting abroad.

While working in a country outside the EU area you can at the same time also be entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment even if you receive benefits from Finland. Always check beforehand the requirements for coverage under the social security system with the authorities in the country of employment.

Example

Ville goes to work for 5 months in South Africa. He is joined by his family. Ville and his family maintain their entitlement to social security coverage in Finland, because their residence abroad will last less than 6 months. This means that they will be eligible for those Kela benefits that are payable abroad. Benefits not payable abroad include the general housing allowance and the child home care allowance.

If Ville's family were to move to South Africa on a permanent basis, their social security coverage in Finland would end effective with their date of moving from Finland.

Persons who work in a country with a social security agreement with Finland should check the relevant social security agreement. The coverage under the social security system is usually determined on the basis of the duration of the stay abroad and the benefits that the social security agreement concerns.

Short-term employment abroad

Persons who work abroad for a very short period or in low-paid jobs (e.g. trainees and au pairs) will not necessarily become entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment. Short-term employment and low-paid jobs usually do not meet the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment. In such cases you may be entitled to Kela benefits if you stay abroad for a maximum of 6 months.

Example

Markus completes a period of training as part of his studies at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Finnish embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The training lasts three months. As Markus has a short-term employment of less than six months, he is entitled to the residence-based social security benefits provided by Kela during the training.