Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

Coverage under the Finnish social security system may be obtained either on the basis of permanent residence or employment. The social security coverage of employees and self-employed persons who move to Finland from another EU or EEA country or from Switzerland on the basis of employment is determined by reference to the intended length of their employment. If you come from a country outside the EU/EEA area, you must have a residence permit granted for at least one year.

Employment relationship lasting less than 4 months

If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country and you are going to be working in Finland for less than 4 months, you will normally not be entitled to Kela benefits. However, if your employer enrols you in the Finnish statutory earnings-related pension scheme, you are entitled to the child home care allowance and to medical treatment in the public healthcare system. You are also insured for unemployment benefits from the start of the employment.

Employment relationship lasting at least 4 months

If you work in Finland for at least 4 months and the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment are met, you are for the duration of the employment entitled to health insurance benefits even if you are resident in another EU country. You are also entitled to child benefit and child home care allowance. You are insured for unemployment benefits in Finland and you also accrue national pension and survivors' pension rights.

If you come to Finland to work here but still live in some other country than an EU or EEA country, you are for the duration of your employment entitled to coverage under the Finnish social security system, if your employment relationship continues for at least four months and the employment meets the minimum conditions regarding the weekly working hours and the wage. You will be eligible for sickness and parental benefits, among others.

As an employee, you will be covered under the Finnish Unemployment Security Act as soon as you start work. However, to qualify for unemployment allowance, you must have worked in Finland for at least 6 months.

You are entitled to child benefit and child home care allowance as soon as you move to Finland if you intend to work for at least 6 months and your job meets certain minimum requirements. Your children must accompany you to Finland.

Social security coverage for self-employed persons

If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you have worked as a self-employed person continuously for at least 4 months and arranged insurance under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (yrittäjän eläkelaki YEL) , you are covered under the Finnish social security system from the start of the self-employment.

If you move to Finland from some other country as a self-employed person, you are covered under the Finnish social security system if your move to Finland is considered to be permanent.

If your original intention was to live in Finland temporarily but your employment turns into a permanent position, you will qualify for social security coverage in Finland as soon as you are established in Finland on a permanent basis.

Example

Aarush, who comes from India, works in Finland for a Finnish company from 1 June 2016 until 30 April 2017. His stay in Finland is intended to be temporary, so he is not covered under the residence-based social security system operated by Kela.

However, as an employee, he is entitled to most Kela benefits as long as he meets benefit-specific qualifying conditions. Such benefits include reimbursements of medical expenses and the allowances available under the Health Insurance Act. In March Aarush's employment is continued by one year. His stay now becomes permanent and as of 1 May 2017 he becomes entitled to all Kela benefits.