Unemployment benefit in the coronavirus situation

Kela pays unemployment benefits

  • to persons who are not eligible for earnings-related unemployment allowance from  unemployment fund
  • to self-employed persons whose full-time self-employment has ended because of the coronavirus epidemic.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, temporary changes have been made to the unemployment coverage relaxing the eligibility requirements and improving the level of benefits. Kela automatically applies these new requirements to your application. Some of the temporary changes apply to the TE Services and the job search. Please follow the instructions from the TE Services concerning these changes.

For more detailed information, see the section ‘Changes to the unemployment benefit coverage for employees and self-employed persons’.

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Changes in unemployment coverage for employees and self-employed persons

Temporary changes introduced:

  • The five-day waiting period has been abolished starting 16 March. Unemployment benefits will be available from the first day of unemployment. The normal five-day waiting period will be applied again as of 7 July 2020.
  • Days on which someone is laid off temporarily do not count against their maximum eligibility for unemployment allowance. The change applies to those who were laid off on or after 16 March 2020. Unemployment allowance paid between 16 March and 30 June 2020 will not count towards the maximum period of eligibility.
  • The work requirement for qualifying for unemployment allowance has been reduced temporarily from 26 weeks to 13 weeks and from 52 weeks to 26 weeks for non-owning family members of self-employed persons. The reduced work requirement is applied starting from 16 March 2020. It applies to persons with at least one week that counts towards the work requirement starting from 1 March 2020. The change will be effective until 6 July 2020.
  • 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. The change will be in force 11.5-31.10.
  • If you are unemployed or laid off, the requirement to draw up an employment plan or assess the need of services together with the TE Services when you register as an unemployed jobseeker has been temporarily abolished. For those who are fully unemployed, the change will be in effect 16.3-30.6.2020, and for those who are laid off 16.3-31.7.2020. Please contact the TE Services if your job search has been interrupted after 16 March 2020 because you have not submitted sufficient information. You may be entitled to unemployment benefits during the interruption. For more detailed instructions, see the website of the TE Services.

Self-employed persons

  • Kela can pay self-employed persons labour market subsidy, if their full-time employment in their business has ended, or if their income from self-employment, because of the epidemic, is less than EUR 1,089.67 per month. These changes will be effective until 30 June 2020.
  • Normally, the tax information for the previous year is used when adjusting the income from self-employment. If a self-employed person’s income has changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, he or she can temporarily himself/herself report the current income to Kela. Kela adjusts this income with the benefit. The change will be in effect 11.5-31.10.2020.

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