Temporary unemployment benefits for self-employed persons

Self-employed persons can get labour market subsidy, if at least one of the following requirements is met:

  • Full-time employment in the business has ended
  • The income from self-employment is, because of the coronavirus epidemic, less than EUR 1,089.67 per month.

You do not have to close down your business in order to get labour market subsidy.

Eligibility of self-employed persons for social benefits may be extended into 2021

The Finnish Government is proposing to extend the eligibility of self-employed persons for labour market subsidy payments until 31.3.2021. Other eligibility conditions would remain unchanged. Kela will provide further information once the proposal has been approved by Parliament.

These temporary conditions on unemployment coverage for self-employed persons will be in effect until 31 December 2020. Temporary labour market subsidy payments are only available to self-employed persons whose business has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. 

If you are no longer self-employed for some other reason, read these instructions for applying for unemployment benefits.

How to apply

  1. If your full-time employment in your business has ended or your income from self-employment has decreased, register with the TE Services as an unemployed jobseeker.
    • You can apply for labour market subsidy starting from the date on which you registered as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE Services.
    • Applications for unemployment benefits can be made retroactively for up to 3 months.
  2. Log in to Kela’s e-service to apply for labour market subsidy (in Finnish). Log in to the e-service using your online bank ID or a mobile ID.
    • On the first page of the application form, answer Kyllä (Yes) to the question “Haetko yrittäjälle maksettavaa työmarkkinatukea?” (Are you applying for the labour market subsidy available to self-employed persons?).
    • In the application, you will be asked to provide an estimate of your monthly income for the period for which you are applying for labour market subsidy. Income includes wages or salary paid by a self-employed person to him/herself, earned income from the business, and the part of the dividend income that constitutes earned income. As your estimate, give only one exact amount.
    • You can deduct any work-related expenses, such as wages or rents paid and the cost of professional tools and products purchased for sale.
  3. When your application for labour market subsidy has been accepted, you must regularly complete and file an unemployment status report based on which your labour market subsidy will be paid.

Amount and payment

The amount of the labour market subsidy is EUR 33.66 per day. The benefit is paid for five days a week (including mid-week holidays). Child increases are not available. You must pay taxes on the labour market subsidy.

The payment of the subsidy can begin as soon as you meet the qualifying requirements. The requirements are that your full-time employment in your business has ended or that your income from self-employment is less than EUR 1,089.67 per month. The TE Services check that you meet the requirements. The subsidy is payable until 31 December 2020.

Your income affects the amount of subsidy payable

If, in addition to labour market subsidy you have income from your self-employment business, that income will reduce the amount of the labour market subsidy. However, you can earn up to a certain amount per month without it affecting the subsidy available to you. Your income is defined as the amount that you, in your application, estimate as your monthly income from self-employment.

Read more about how unemployment benefits are adjusted to salaries.

Age and other requirements

If you are entitled to temporary labour market subsidy payments due to the epidemic, no other requirements such as a waiting period or means testing are applied, and neither are the rules concerning partial labour market subsidy.

However, the general requirements for entitlement to unemployment benefits for instance regarding the age limit also apply to the labour market subsidy for self-employed persons. Labour market subsidy for self-employed persons can be paid at the most to the end of the calendar month during which the jobseeker turns 65 years.

Other benefits

Self-employed persons may also be entitled to other Kela benefits.

General housing allowance

Self-employed persons can apply for general housing allowance in order to get help with their housing costs. The housing allowance is granted to the entire household as a whole.

If the coronavirus epidemic has affected your self-employment business and you have received a statement from the TE Office stating that you are entitled to labour market subsidy, the labour market subsidy and any assessment that you may have made as to your income from your business will, exceptionally, be taken into account when you apply for housing allowance, even though you are insured under the YEL (Self Employed Persons’ Pensions) Act.

Basic social assistance

Basic social assistance is a last-resort form of financial assistance. The amount of social assistance is affected by all the income and assets available to the customers and their families, including savings in bank accounts. Other social security benefits are counted as income. Before applying for basic social assistance, you must apply for unemployment benefit.

Read more