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 1 January 2021.
  • 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. Starting 1 July 2020, unemployment allowance paid will also not count towards the maximum eligibility for unemployment allowance for others who are fully or partially unemployed. The changes will be in effect until 31 December 2020.
  • 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 31 December 2020.
    • Starting 1 July 2020, the reduced work requirement will also concern recipients of basic unemployment allowance. Recipients of basic unemployment allowance who are members of an unemployment fund can become eligible for earnings-related unemployment benefits if they have had work that counts towards the work requirement for 13 weeks. At least one of these weeks that count towards the work requirement must have started after 1 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. The change will be in effect from 16 March to 31 December 2020.
  • The exempt amount applicable to unemployment benefits has been raised temporarily. The exempt amount is the amount a recipient of unemployment benefits can earn without it reducing their benefits. You can earn up to 465 euros before taxes if your benefit is paid every four weeks, or up to 500 euros if your benefit is paid on a monthly basis. The increase applies to benefit adjustment periods beginning between 1 June 2020 and 31 October 2020.
  • A commuting and relocation allowance is available if you accept a full-time job which requires you to travel more than two hours each day to get to and from work, or if you move a comparable distance to be closer to your place of work. These terms apply to periods of employment beginning between 12 June 2020 and 31 October 2020. Normally, the daily trip to and from work must take more than three hours.

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 3December 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.
  • The exempt amount applicable to unemployment benefits has been raised temporarily. The exempt amount is the amount that a recipient of unemployment benefits can earn without it affecting their benefits. If you are self-employed, you can earn up to 465 euros before taxes if your benefit is paid every four weeks, or up to 500 euros if your benefit is paid on a monthly basis. The increase applies to benefit adjustment periods beginning between 1 June 2020 and 31 October 2020.

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