What is the work requirement?
The entitlement to earnings-related unemployment allowance, basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy is determined by whether you meet the work requirement.
Work requirement for earnings-related unemployment allowance
Earnings-related unemployment allowance is claimed from your unemployment fund. If you have become unemployed and you are a member of an unemployment fund, you must always first find out if you are entitled to earnings-related unemployment allowance.
Kela cannot pay you any unemployment benefits if you are a member of an unemployment fund and you are entitled to earnings-related unemployment allowance from the unemployment fund.
For further information, see When can I claim earnings-related allowance (tyj.fi)
Notice on coronavirus
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the work requirement for earnings-related unemployment allowance and basic unemployment allowance has been temporarily reduced from 26 weeks to 13 weeks. 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.
If you apply for an unemployment benefit from Kela and you meet the work requirement applicable to an employee or a self-employed person, you are entitled to basic unemployment allowance. If you are not entitled to basic unemployment allowance, you may be entitled to labour market subsidy.
How Kela determines if the work requirement is met
To meet the work requirement applicable to employees,
- you must have been in paid employment for at least 26 weeks (about 6 months) during the 28 months preceding the unemployment (known as the reference period)
- you have had at least 18 hours of work per week.
your pay has complied with the relevant collective agreement.
If there is no relevant collective agreement, your wage must amount to at least EUR 1,236 per month (in 2020) or EUR 1,211 per month (in 2019).
The wage is considered in relation to the working hours:
- The daily wage must amount to at least EUR 57.49. The daily wage is calculated by dividing the minimum wage per month by the average number of working days per month (1,236 : 21.5).
- The hourly wage must amount to at least EUR 7.19. The hourly wage is calculated by dividing the minimum wage per day by the average number of working hours per day (57.49 : 8).
Exceptions to the work requirement
In fields with non-standard working time arrangements (teachers, persons working at home in an employment relationship, professional athletes, artists or creative workers), the work requirement can be met by working less than 18 hours. Whether the work requirement is met can also be determined on the basis of income (persons working at home, professional athletes, artists or creative workers).
You must have 52 weeks of salaried employment if you work in a company that is operated by your family member and you do not own a share in the company. The criteria regarding working hours and pay are the same as for other employees.
Kela obtains salary information from the national incomes register. Kela uses this data when processing claims and applications. You will be contacted if additional information is required.
To meet the work requirement applicable to self-employed persons,
- you must have been self-employed for at least 15 months during the 48 months preceding unemployment
- the confirmed income must amount to at least EUR 1,090 per month (in 2020) and EUR 1,068 per month (in 2019) when totalling the confirmed incomes under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL) and the Farmers' Pensions Act (MYEL) and the earnings from self-employment under the Employees Pensions Act (TyEL).
Self-employment that has continued for at least 4 months is taken into account for the work requirement.
Any paid employment during the 28 months preceding the unemployment also counts towards the work requirement applicable to self-employed persons.
Use the calculator application to estimate whether your self-employment activity is sufficient and whether you have worked sufficiently to qualify for basic unemployment allowance.
The reference period is the period for which the work you have done is taken into account when determining whether you meet the work requirement.
The 28/48-month reference period used to determine whether the work requirement is met can be extended for such reasons as illness, full-time study or care for a child aged 3 years or younger. It can also be extended by participation in employment promoting services.
The maximum extension is 7 years. The longest possible reference period is thus 9 years and 4 months.
Validity of the work requirement
If you alternate between work and unemployed, you need not meet the work requirement every time. If you withdraw yourself from the labour market for more than 6 months without an acceptable reason, you cannot be paid unemployment allowance until you again meet the work requirement.
Wage-subsidised work and the work requirement
As regards work for which your employer has received wage subsidy, 75% of the time you have worked counts towards the work requirement. 25% of the time you have worked extends the reference period for the work requirement