Unemployment benefits in Finland

Suomen työttömyysturvaetuudet
Here you will find information on entitlement to unemployment allowance and labour market subsidy in Finland. There is also information on the special rules for foreign workers, cross-border workers and workers returning to Finland.

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 article describes entitlement to unemployment allowance and labour market subsidy.

Unemployment allowance

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.

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 have registered with TE Services as an unemployed jobseeker,
  • 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 work requirement applicable to employees 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 on Entitlement to unemployment benefits in Finland for foreign workers.

How do you apply for unemployment allowance?

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

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 or the Federation of Unemployment Funds.

If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, apply for basic unemployment allowance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

When do unemployment allowance payments start?

Unemployment allowance payments start after the waiting period, which is 5 working days . During that period you must be an unemployed jobseeker with TE Services. The waiting period can include days of unemployment in no more than 8 consecutive calendar weeks.

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

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.

Rules for certain special groups

Entitlement to unemployment benefits in Finland for foreign workers

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 become unemployed in Finland before you meet 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 are 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.

Using the services of a Finnish unemployment fund will be facilitated if you have requested form U1 from the unemployment fund 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 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.

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