Unemployment benefit in the coronavirus situation

If you have become unemployed or temporarily laid off, you should always first register as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE Services.

If you are a member of an unemployment fund and meet a specified work requirement, apply for earnings-related unemployment benefit in accordance with the guidelines of your unemployment fund (tyj.fi, The Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland).

If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, or you do not meet the specified work requirement, you can apply to Kela for unemployment benefits.

Temporary changes to unemployment benefits (1 January - 28 February 2022)

The Finnish Government has outlined a number of temporary changes to unemployment benefits to address the hardship caused by COVID-19 for employees and self-employed people. The changes will take effect retroactively.

The following temporary changes will apply for the period 1 January - 28 February 2022:

  • Provided certain conditions are met, self-employed persons can qualify for labour market subsidy if their business has been hit by the coronavirus epidemic. They can self-report any income they have while unemployed to Kela.
  • The initial 5-day waiting period is waived, which means that unemployment benefits can be paid right away starting from the first day of unemployment.
    • If you received a decision before the changes described here requiring you to complete a waiting period, that no longer applies and you will be paid benefits also during the waiting period. Kela will issue a new decision once the law is in effect. You do not have to contact Kela on account of this change.

We will provide more information when the changes are in effect.

Changes that have ended on 30 November 2021

Many temporary legislative changes have ended on 30 November 2021. If you apply for an unemployment benefit retroactively, Kela can apply the legal provisions whose validity has ended to your case. Applications for unemployment benefits can be backdated for up to 3 months.

Starting 1 December 2021, applications for unemployment benefits are processed in the following manner:

  • For application periods that start on or after 1 December, the exempt amount in connection with unemployment benefits is 279 euros if your benefit is paid every four weeks, or up to 300 euros if your benefit is paid on a monthly basis. The exempt amount is the amount a recipient of unemployment benefits can earn without it reducing their benefits. During the coronavirus epidemic, the exempt amount has been 465 or 500 euros.
  • A commuting and relocation allowance is available if you accept a full-time job which requires you to travel more than 3 hours to get to and from work, or if you move a comparable distance to be closer to your place of work. The criteria concern employment relationships that start on or after 1 December. It has been possible to get commuting and relocation allowance for travels to and from work of more than 2 hours during the period 12 June 2020-30 November 2021.
  • Self-employed persons are not entitled to labour market subsidy if the entrepreneurial activity still continues. Kela can pay temporary labour market subsidy for self-employed persons until 30 November 2021. Self-employed persons will regain eligibility for labour market subsidy for the period 1 January-28 February 2022.

Change to speed up the processing of applications will continue to the end of 2022

The processing of applications for unemployment benefits will continue so that the earnings are adjusted with the unemployment benefit in periods of four weeks or one month even when the period includes days for which the applicant is not entitled to unemployment benefits. Wages paid during the period are thus taken into account in the adjustment even if there is no entitlement to unemployment benefits for the day the wages are paid. These criteria will be effective 11 May 2020 - 31 December 2022.