Unemployment benefits in Finland

Suomen työttömyysturvaetuudet
Here you will find information on unemployment benefits in Finland. First there is information on unemployment allowance, what the conditions are, how to apply and how it is paid. Who pays unemployment allowance depends on whether you are a member of an unemployment fund or not. Then there is information on the special rules for workers who go abroad or come from abroad to work, cross-border workers, remigrants and individuals who go abroad as unemployed jobseekers. At the end of the page there is information about entitlement to Finnish labour market subsidy.

Unemployment insurance is part of the Finnish social security system. Unemployment insurance includes a number of different subsidies and benefits designed to safeguard the livelihood of individuals who become unemployed. This page describes entitlement to unemployment allowance and labour market subsidy.

Which country's social security system are you covered by?

As a general rule, you are covered by unemployment insurance in the country where you work or whose legislation applies to you. You cannot, therefore, continue to be a member of a Finnish unemployment fund if you have moved to another country to work and you are covered by the social security in your country of employment.

You can find more information on which country’s social security you are covered by on the page Which country's social security system are you covered by?

Unemployment allowance

In Finland, unemployment allowance is paid from two different systems. If you become unemployed and you are a member of an unemployment fund, you can get earnings-related unemployment allowance from your unemployment fund. If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, you can get basic unemployment allowance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

If you are not entitled to unemployment allowance, you can get labour market subsidy. You can find more information on labour market subsidy below in the section Labour market subsidy.

Unemployment funds in Finland

If you want to get earnings-related unemployment allowance if you become unemployed, join an unemployment fund. You can be a member of an unemployment fund either through a trade union or directly as an individual member. You can find contact information for unemployment funds on the website of the Federation of Unemployment Funds (TYJ), and you can read more about trade unions on the page Trade unions in Finland.

You normally join an unemployment fund in the country where you work or whose legislation applies to you. You can read about the rules for certain special groups below in the section Rules for certain special groups. 

In Finland you can also join an unemployment fund while unemployed if you come from another EU/EEA country. In order to transfer periods of employment and insurance accrued in the other country, you must join a fund within eight weeks of coming from the other country.

Unemployment allowance

Are you entitled to unemployment allowance?

Basic unemployment allowance and earnings-related unemployment allowance are generally granted on the same basis. You are entitled to unemployment allowance if all of the following conditions are met:

  • you are aged 17-64,
  • you are unemployed,
  • you live in Finland,
  • you are registered as an unemployed jobseeker with TE Services,
  • you are looking for full-time employment,
  • you are able to work and are available to the labour market and
  • you meet the work requirement.

You meet the employees’ work requirement if you have been in paid employment for at least 18 hours a week for 26 weeks during the last 6 months and your pay has complied with the relevant collective agreement. If there is no relevant collective agreement, your wage must be at least a certain amount in euros per month. You meet the earnings-related unemployment fund membership requirement if the work requirement is met whilst you are a member. 

If you have previously worked in another EU/EEA country and you become unemployed in Finland before meeting the work requirement, read the section below on Entitlement to unemployment benefits in Finland for foreign workers.

How do you apply for unemployment allowance?

If you become unemployed, register as a jobseeker with TE Services as soon as possible.

If you are a member of an unemployment fund, apply for earnings-related unemployment allowance directly from your unemployment fund. You can get further guidance from your unemployment fund.

If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, apply for basic unemployment allowance from Kela.

When do unemployment allowance payments start?

Unemployment allowance payments generally start after a waiting period of 5 working days. Severance pay or similar payments are an exception to this. 

During the waiting period you must be an unemployed jobseeker with TE Services. The waiting period does not need to be continuous. Days of unemployment in no more than 8 consecutive calendar weeks can count towards it.

Unemployment allowance is paid for five days a week and is taxable income.

Rules for certain special groups

Rules for certain special groups

Special rules apply to workers moving abroad or coming from abroad, cross-border workers, individuals returning from another Nordic country and those who want to go abroad or come to Finland from abroad to look for work, and you can find information on these rules below.

Åland is part of Finland, so the rules below do not apply to individuals moving between Finland and Åland.

    Entitlement to unemployment benefits if you go from Finland to another country for work

    If you have previously been covered by Finnish unemployment security and you go abroad to work, you can transfer unemployment insurance periods accrued in Finland to your new country of employment. 

    Insurance periods are transferred using form U1. If you are a member of an earnings-related unemployment fund, you get the form from your fund. If you do not belong to an unemployment fund, you get the form from Kela.

    The right to aggregate periods of insurance and employment acquired in different countries applies to both employees and self-employed persons.

    You can get more information from Kela or your unemployment fund.

    Right to Finnish unemployment benefits when you come from another country

    If you start working in Finland and you want to have earnings-related unemployment insurance, join an unemployment fund within four weeks of moving to Finland. If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, you are only entitled to basic unemployment allowance from Kela.

    If you become unemployed in Finland before meeting the work requirement, the conditions for unemployment allowance may be met on the basis of work done in another EU/EEA country. For Sweden and Denmark, periods of insurance and employment are counted towards earnings-related benefits only if you were a member of an unemployment fund. You usually also need to have worked in Finland for at least four weeks immediately before becoming unemployed. If you are not entitled to unemployment allowance, you may be entitled to labour market subsidy. More information below in the section Labour market subsidy.

    Using the services of a Finnish unemployment fund will be facilitated if you have requested form PD U1 from the unemployment fund or corresponding authority in your country of departure. You can get more information from the authorities in your country of departure.

    Individuals returning to Finland from another Nordic country

    Under the Nordic Social Security Convention, periods of employment in another Nordic country can be directly counted towards the work requirement for unemployment allowance without the requirement of working for four weeks in Finland after returning. This applies if you return to Finland after being in another Nordic country for a maximum of five years.

    You are considered to be a remigrant if you have previously lived in Finland permanently. You must also have worked or received unemployment allowance in Finland during the past five years to be entitled to unemployment allowance.

    Cross-border workers

    Cross-border workers, that is individuals who live in one country and work in another, have their unemployment insurance in their country of employment. Cross-border workers are partly covered by special rules on applying for unemployment allowance.

    If you become unemployed partly or for a fixed period (lay-off), you must register as a jobseeker in your country of employment and then unemployment benefits are paid by the unemployment fund or other competent authority in the country of employment.

    If you become wholly unemployed, you must register as an unemployed jobseeker in your country of residence, and unemployment benefits are paid by the unemployment fund or other competent authority in the country of residence. It is important to register as a jobseeker with the job centre in your country of residence and send a membership form to an unemployment fund in your country of residence immediately after your job ends in your country of employment. 

    Coming to Finland from another country as an unemployed jobseeker

    You can also come to Finland as an unemployed jobseeker and get unemployment allowance, but for this you must be registered as an unemployed jobseeker in your country of departure well before you move. Read more on the page on unemployment benefits in your country.

    Going from Finland to another country as an unemployed jobseeker

    Unemployed jobseekers can, under certain conditions, get Finnish unemployment allowance if they go to other EU or EEA countries to look for a job. Unemployed jobseekers can keep their right to unemployment allowance for a maximum of three months when applying for jobs within the EU.

    The condition is that the jobseeker has been an unemployed jobseeker in Finland for four weeks before going abroad. If you have received unemployment allowance for the maximum period, you cannot get it to search for a job abroad. Labour market subsidy is not paid while job hunting abroad.

    Before leaving, jobseekers must request a certificate of entitlement to unemployment security in Finland from a Kela office or unemployment fund (form U2). They must report to the local job centre in the country where they have gone to look for employment within one week of arriving in the country.

    If a jobseeker has not found employment within three months, they must return to Finland or they will lose their right to Finnish unemployment allowance.

    You can get more detailed information from TE Services, Kela or your unemployment fund.

    Individuals returning to Finland from another Nordic country

    Under the Nordic Social Security Convention, periods of employment in another Nordic country can be directly counted in the work requirement for unemployment allowance without the requirement of working for four weeks in Finland after returning. This applies in cases where an individual returns to Finland after being in another Nordic country for a maximum of five years.

    You are considered to be a returnee if you have previously lived in Finland permanently. You must also have worked in Finland or received unemployment allowance in Finland during the past five years to be entitled to unemployment allowance.

    Unemployment insurance for cross-border workers 

    Cross-border workers, that is individuals who live in one country and work in another, are partly covered by special rules on applying for unemployment allowance. These rules depend on whether you are in the category of regular cross-border workers or other cross-border workers.

    Cross-border workers

    An individual who works daily in one country and lives in another country and returns home at least once a week is considered a cross-border worker. Cross-border workers are covered by unemployment insurance in the country where they work.

    If you become unemployed partly or for a fixed period (lay-off), you must register as a jobseeker in your country of employment and then unemployment benefits are paid by the unemployment fund in the country of employment.

    If you become wholly unemployed, you must register as an unemployed jobseeker in your country of residence, and unemployment benefits are paid by the unemployment fund or other competent authority in the country of residence.

    Other cross-border workers

    Unlike regular cross-border workers, other cross-border workers return home more infrequently than once a week. Other cross-border workers must have unemployment insurance in their country of employment.

    If other cross-border workers become wholly unemployed, they can return to their country of residence as unemployed jobseekers or remain in their country of employment as unemployed jobseekers. Unemployment allowance is paid by the country in which you are an unemployed jobseeker.

    Labour market subsidy

    Labour market subsidy is financial support paid to individuals who do not meet the work requirement, who are entering the labour market for the first time or who have received unemployment allowance for the maximum period.

    Previous employment is not required in order to receive labour market subsidy, but you do need to be living in Finland permanently. You can get labour market subsidy if you are aged 17-64, you do not meet the work requirement and you live in Finland permanently.

    Labour market subsidy is means-tested. So most income reduces it. Labour market subsidy is not paid for periods when you are job hunting in another Nordic country.

    More information

    Ask Info Norden

    If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.

    NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.

    Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.