Thursday. 18.04.2019
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I lost my job, what kind of unemployment benefits are there?

The first thing you should do is to register immediately as a jobseeker in accordance to the instructions of the TE services

Image by Ake / Rawpixel.
Image by Ake / Rawpixel.
I lost my job, what kind of unemployment benefits are there?

If you live in Finland and become unemployed or if your studies have ended but you do not have a job, the Finnish Social Security (Kela) recommends that the first thing you should do is to immediately register as an unemployed jobseeker in accordance with the instructions and conditions of the TE services. When you have done that, you will be able to receive unemployment benefits.

According to the information published on Kela’s webpage, in Finland the benefits that can be paid to unemployed people are either unemployment allowances or a labour market subsidy.

If you want to apply for an unemployment allowance, the first thing you must bear in mind is that there are two types:

If you are a member of an unemployed fund –for instance through a trade union membership- you can apply for an earnings-related unemployment allowance from the unemployment fund. But if you are not, then you still have the right to apply for a basic unemployment allowance or for a labour market subsidy from Kela.

Earnings-related unemployment allowance

The Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland (TYJ) informs that you can claim earnings-related allowance from an unemployed fund if you have been working before and meet the following criteria:

  • You are unemployed in part or in full
  • You seek full-time employment and have registered as an unemployed job seeker with the Employment and Economic Development Office
  • You are a member of an unemployment fund
  • You have met the employment condition during your period of membership
  • You are aged between 17 and 64 (or if you have been laid off, between 17 and 67)

The earnings-related allowance is calculated on the basis of your established pay for a period immediately before you became unemployed. The maximum payment period depends on the length of your employment history and on your age.

For more information on earnings-related unemployment allowance and the amounts paid, click HERE

The basic unemployment allowance

According to the Finnish Social Security system, the basic unemployment allowance is paid to persons who meet the work requirement for employees or self-employed persons when they become unemployed.

To meet this work requirements, the legislation states that 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). And that 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 1,189 euros per month.

The basic unemployment allowance is payable for a maximum period of 400 days. However, if the employment history is shorter than three years, the maximum payment period of the unemployment allowance is 300 days. Kela stresses that if you happen to be unemployed when the allowance runs out, then you can apply of a labour market subsidy.

The unemployment allowance is payable up to a maximum period of 500 days to those unemployed persons who have met the work requirement after reaching the age of 58 years. Ageing unemployed persons who satisfy the work requirement are eligible for additional days of unemployment allowance and can take advantage of a kind of unemployment path to retirement.

For more information on the basic unemployment allowance, please click HERE

For more information on the work requirement, please click HERE

The labour market subsidy

Kela explains on its website that the labour market subsidy is an amount of money intended to provide basic support while the person is looking for a job. It is intended to benefit people who meet the following conditions:

  • Unemployed persons who enter the labour market for the first time or who have not worked long enough, i.e. do not meet the work requirement.
  • Unemployed persons who can no longer receive basic or earnings-related unemployment allowance since the maximum payment period for these benefits has been reached.

The labour market subsidy is means-tested, which means that the amount of the benefit is affected by your income as well as by your parents' income if you live with them in the same household. The time period for receiving labour market subsidy is not limited.

It is important to stress that if you enjoy any other social security benefits, they will normally be deducted from your labour market subsidy.

The unemployment benefit paid by Kela amounts to 32.40 euros per day. The benefit is paid for five days per week (including mid-week holidays).

If you meet the criteria for activity, you can receive unemployment benefit at the full amount, otherwise it may be reduced.

The activity is monitored in periods of 65 days of payment. The criteria for activity are met if you, over the course of a single payment period, have been in salaried employment for at least 18 hours or have earned an income of at least 245,64 euros from self-employment, or if you have participated in five days of employment-promoting services or some other employment-promoting activity arranged by the TE Services.

In the case of salaried employment, the working hours needed to meet the work requirement and thus the criteria for activity can be accrued for example during one week, four weeks or during the whole 65-day payment period.

For more official information on the labour market subsidy, click HERE

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