What is the work requirement?

If you meet the requirement applicable to employees or self-employed persons, you are entitled to basic unemployment allowance. If you are not entitled to basic unemployment allowance, you may be entitled to labour market subsidy.

To meet the 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. If there is no relevant collective agreement, your wage must amount to at least EUR 1,189 per month.

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.

The wage is considered in relation to the working hours when determining the work requirement. This means that the daily minimum wage is EUR 55.30 (1,189/21.5) and the hourly minimum wage is EUR 6.91 (55.30/8).

In fields with non-standard working time arrangements (teachers, persons working at home, professional athletes, artists or creative workers), the work requirement can be met by working less than for example 18 hours. Whether the work requirement is met can also be determined on the basis of income.

Enclose the requested supporting documents with the application, so that Kela can determine if you meet the work requirement. If the working hours have been irregular, you can provide the information on form TT4e (Certificate for the determination of the work requirement). Ask your employer to complete the form.

As of 1 January 2019, 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 1,048 per month (in 2018) 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.

Reference period

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