Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

You can be entitled to Kela benefits both on the basis of permanent residence in Finland and employment in Finland. Your social security coverage is mainly affected by the country you come from and for how long you plan to work in Finland. If you come to Finland as an employee, Kela determines whether your residence in Finland can be considered permanent also on the basis of your employment. An open-ended contract of employment or a fixed-term contract of employment of at least 2 years can be taken into account as an indication of a permanent move to Finland. Also other factors can indicate residence in Finland. Such factors include for instance permanent home, or previous residence and employment in Finland.

You can become entitled to social security coverage in Finland immediately when moving to Finland, if you move to Finland on a permanent basis or if you work in Finland and the wage amounts to at least EUR 696.60 per month. However, one requirement for entitlement to for instance unemployment allowance is that you have worked for at least 6 months. One requirement for entitlement to parental allowances is residence or employment in Finland of at least 180 days before the due date of birth of the child.

You can become entitled to social security coverage in Finland on the basis of employment even if you are not permanently resident here. However, for instance general housing allowance is not payable to employees coming from a country outside the EU area who are not considered to be permanently resident in the country.

If your employment ends or the wage decreases below EUR 696.60 per month, you can still be entitled to benefits. Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 3 months if you have worked in Finland for at least 6 months before the work ends or diminishes. 

Trainees, au pairs and others with short-term or low-wage jobs are not entitled to Kela benefits if the minimum criteria regarding the wage are not met and the residence in Finland is not permanent.

Previously one requirement for coverage under the social security system handled by Kela was a minimum of 4 months of employment in Finland with the working hours being at least 18 hours per week. This requirement was abolished 1 April 2019. Now the only requirement for entitlement to benefits is a sufficiently high wage (at least EUR 696.60 per month).

Kela can check the details of a person’s pay and employment from the data that the employer has reported to the national incomes register. If necessary, Kela will ask for further information.

If your initial intention was to work in Finland temporarily but your employment and residence in Finland becomes permanent, you may be entitled to more extensive social security coverage.

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 (YEL), you are as a self-employed person entitled to benefits from the start of the self-employment.

If you move to Finland as a self-employed person from a country outside the EU area, you are as a self-employed person entitled to benefits if your move to and residence in Finland are considered permanent. In addition, you must have arranged insurance under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL).

Example

Aarushi, who comes from India, works in Finland for a Finnish company from 1 August 2018 until 28 February 2019. His stay in Finland is initially intended to be temporary, meaning that he is not entitled to Kela benefits on the basis of residence in Finland. However, as an employee he is entitled to some Kela benefits from the start of the employment if the criteria for the granting of the benefit are met. Such benefits include for instance reimbursements of medical expenses and sickness allowance.

Later Aarushi’s employment is made permanent. His temporary stay in Finland becomes permanent residence here, and after this he is also entitled to the benefits that are only paid to persons who are resident in Finland. Such benefits include for instance housing allowance and maternity grant.

Check what information Kela has about your residence and employment in Finland in Kela’s e-service (in Finnish and Swedish only).