Concepts: Statistics on unemployment benefits paid by Kela

Unemployment protection

As used in these statistics, unemployment protection refers to the unemployment benefits paid by unemployment funds or by Kela to persons who are either unemployed or participating in employment promotion services. Commuting and relocation allowance and job alternation compensations are included.

Unemployment benefit

In these statistics, unemployment benefit refers to unemployment allowance and labour market subsidy. Kela pays unemployment allowances in the form of the basic unemployment allowance.



Two different concepts of ‘recipient’ are used in this publication: the number of recipients during the year and the number of recipients at the end of the month. The former includes anyone who received unemployment benefits in 2009, while the latter counts individuals who were in receipt of an unemployment benefit on the last day of a given month.


References to days represent the number of days for which unemployment benefit was paid. Unemployment benefits benefits are paid for five days a week (Monday to Friday). Days/recipient is the ratio between the number of days and the number of recipients.


Expenditure refers to the amount of benefits paid in the reference year expressed in euro. Returns of benefit are accounted for, which ensures that the benefit payment data shown in the statistics correspond to the information in the accounts. Euros/day is the ratio between the amount of benefits paid and the number of days on benefit.

Length of spell

The length of spells of unemployment is shown in calendar weeks as the length of ongoing spells of unemployment at the end of the reference year. Five consecutive days of payment are counted as one week. If the payment of a benefit is disrupted for more than 9 days, a new spell of unemployment is considered to begin. Spells of labour market subsidy include any days on basic unemployment allowance.



The age of benefit recipients is recorded as their age at the end of the year.


The division of regions and municipalities corresponds to the situation at the end of the reference year. In the analyses by region, persons who live outside Finland are only included in the figures for the whole country.

The recipient’s municipality of residence comes from Kela’s database of general data as at the end of the reference year.

Maximum duration of payment

The maximum duration of basic unemployment allowance payment in the reference year was reached when a benefit had been paid for the maximum period of the unemployment allowance. It can be 300, 400 or 500 days. The day on which the maximum eligibility limit is reached is determined from the information stored in the benefit processing systems.

Degree of unemployment

Recipients of unemployment benefits are in this publication divided into such categories as those completely without work and those on adjusted benefit. Subcategories of the labour market subsidy include the subsidy reduced by other benefits and the partial labour market subsidy.