Income and unemployment
You can receive earnings-related allowance in the event of unemployment or lay-off if your work requirement is met and you have been a member of PAM and the Unemployment Fund for the corresponding period. The work requirement defines how long an unemployed person or a laid-off person must have been employed and a member of the unemployment fund in order to be entitled to earnings-related allowance.
According to temporary legislative changes due to the corona epidemic, the employee's employment condition is 13 weeks if at least one working week has been completed after 1.3.2020 and the 26-week work requirement is not met. The normal work requirement is 26 weeks.
The Unemployment Fund automatically takes the changes into account in all eranings-related allowance applications arrived on 16 March and after. Applications that have been paid before the law was enacted will be corrected by the unemployment fund afterwards. Read more in this news.
You can find more information on how to apply for earnings-related allowance on the Unemployment Fund's website. This page will be updated with the latest news and guidelines for paying earnings-related allowance during the corona epidemic.
On this page you will find answers to the questions below. To get to the answer, scroll down the page or click the question.
What support can you get if you are unemployed or laid off? (24.3.2020)
How do I claim earnings-related benefits? See the video! (24.3.2020)
How much is earnings-related benefit? (24.3.2020)
How long does it take before the money is in my account? (24.3.2020)
Waiting period and suspension period, what do they mean? (24.3.2020)
My work requirement is not met, even though I became unemployed/was laid off. What support can I get? (24.3.2020)
My income at the moment is not enough to live on. Can I get something like social assistance? (4.5.2020)
How does part-time work or unpaid leave affect the payment of earnings-related allowance? (29.4.2020)
Who can get sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease from KELA? (24.3.2020)
My insolvent employer has not paid me the wages and bonuses that would belong to me. What do I do, can I apply for pay coverage? (27.4.2020)
How does lay-off affect the unemployment security of a wage subsidy worker? What happens to someone in TE training or as a student? (29.4.2020)
Who is entitled to a temporary epidemic support paid by KELA? (30.4.2020)
What support can you get if you are unemployed or laid-off?
If you become unemployed or are laid off, you can claim unemployment allowance. This is claimed either from the unemployment fund or from Kela, depending on whether you are a member of the unemployment fund.
If you have been a member of PAM and the unemployment fund, you can claim earnings-related benefits, which are paid based on your earnings (for instructions, please see here). Otherwise claim unemployment allowance from Kela. If, due to unemployment or being laid off, your money is not sufficient for basic living requirements such as accommodation and food, you can also claim for example general housing allowance or social assistance.
If you become unemployed or you are laid off, you need to register as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE office.
N.B.! Only EU and EEA citizens can at the moment register as a jobseeker in the TE Office's online service.
If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA country, you can register as an unemployed jobseeker using the TE Office's open online form, which does not require strong identification. The same form should also be used if you do not have online bank codes. Please note that the form does not work in an Internet Explorer web browser.
You can also contact the nearest TE office, which you can find here, and ask more about your registration.
If you claim earnings-related benefits from the unemployment fund, get the attachments you need for the first application, such as your wage certificate and your notice of lay-off/termination of employment and your employment contract, and then complete the application carefully, for example online. On PAM’s unemployment fund pages you will find what to do if you become unemployed. Also have a look at how to apply for earnings-related benefits here (in Finnish).
Also if you are laid off you can be paid earnings-related unemployment allowance if you are entitled to it. If you are laid off entirely, you will get full allowance, and if the lay-off is part-time, the allowance is adjusted. On PAM’s unemployment fund pages you will find instructions if you have been laid off due to coronavirus.
The allowance is claimed from the unemployment fund in arrears (instructions here). You can send the first application two weeks after the start of the lay-off. If the lay-off is short, the application can be sent at the earliest on the last day of the lay-off. Order a revised tax card for the unemployment fund on the MyTax service, to get a lower tax percentage. The tax card has to be for benefits, otherwise the tax percentage is at least 25%.
Also attach your wage certificate to your electronic application, even though the incomes register is in use. This speeds up processing the application.
How do I claim earnings-related benefits?
When you have registered as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE office, you can claim earnings-related benefits from the unemployment fund. Earnings-related benefits are claimed by completing an application online or mailing it. In the online service you can also send all the necessary attachments easily and quickly. Check for more detailed instructions on the unemployment fund pages.
Also take a look at the frequently asked questions on earnings-related benefits (in Finnish).
Have a look at this video as well and follow the instructions on how to apply for earnings-related allowance step-by-step:
How much is earnings-related benefit?
The amount of earnings-related benefit is determined by your taxable earned income in weeks meeting the work requirement (holiday bonus and holiday compensation are not included). You can find a calculator on the unemployment fund’s own online service, where you can estimate the amount of benefit. TYJ also has an allowance calculator. Earnings-related benefit is paid for five days a week.
How long does it take before the money is in my account?
Due to the coronavirus epidemic it is to be expected that application processing times and queues will lengthen. You can find up-to-date information on processing times here.
Waiting period and suspension period, what do they mean?
If you become unemployed or are laid off for the first time, there is a five-day waiting period before unemployment allowance is paid. The waiting period must be met during eight successive calendar weeks.
The Finnish government took a decision due to the coronavirus epidemic. As a temporary measure, earnings-related unemployment allowance will also be paid during the five-day waiting period. The payment of the allowance will begin on the first day of unemployment. This provision applies to people whose waiting period begins between 16 March and 6 July 2020.
The suspension period in unemployment security means a period of 15-90 days, when due to a decision by the TE office the unemployment fund cannot pay you unemployment allowance. The TE office can order a suspension period for example because you have not accepted employment that has been offered to you.
My work requirement is not met, even though I became unemployed/was laid off. What support can I get?
You can claim labour market subsidy from Kela. This is designed for persons who are applying for jobs but can’t get basic or earnings-related unemployment allowance. NB: The Finnish government took a decision due to the coronavirus epidemic. The work requirement for employees will be shortened to 13 weeks, if at least one week of work falls after 1 March 2020 and the work requirement of 26 weeks is not fulfilled.
If the money you have coming in is not enough to live on, you can get social assistance. Social assistance is a last-resort financial benefit that is designed to secure a living for individuals and families. Getting social assistance depends on your income, assets and expenses. Due to the coronavirus epidemic, individuals’ assets are not taken into account for now. This means that you do not have to sell property that could be sold straight away.
You can get social assistance while waiting for a benefit, such as an unemployment allowance decision. In this case any social assistance paid may be recovered. Social assistance is always granted if your essential expenses are higher than your income. Not all expenses are eligible expenses for social assistance, however, or to be more precise basic social assistance.
Social assistance is divided into three components:
- Basic social assistance from Kela (N.B. An exception is Åland, where the social services office deals with the whole process of granting social assistance).
- Discretionary supplementary and preventive social assistance granted by municipal social services.
Kela basic social assistance is also divided into two components: a basic component (fixed amount), and an amount for other basic expenses (variable amount).
For example, the basic amount of social assistance for someone living alone is 502.21 euros a month. This generally covers expenses for food, clothes and minor expenses for health care and personal and domestic cleanliness, as well as use of local transport, a newspaper subscription, telephone and telecommunications use, hobbies and recreation and other similar expenses.
Other basic expenses taken into account to a reasonable extent in basic social assistance include for example housing expenses, health care expenses and home insurance. Due to the coronavirus epidemic housing expenses are temporarily taken into account based on actual costs.
Municipalities grant supplementary social assistance for specific expenses, such as children’s materials and hobbies as well as furniture. Preventive social assistance, on the other hand, is granted to promote the social safety and autonomy of the individual and the family. This means that assistance may be granted in situations where there is no entitlement to basic or supplementary social assistance. Assistance can be granted based on municipalities’ guidelines and discretion, for example for over-indebtedness, to relieve hardship caused by a sudden financial setback or other housing expenses that Kela does not include in basic social assistance, such as charges for financial costs for property owners.
First apply for basic social assistance from Kela. If Kela rejects your application or if the assistance granted is not enough, then depending on your expenses you can apply to the municipal social services office for supplementary or preventive social assistance.
You can also apply for municipal social assistance in the Kela basic social assistance application. Then Kela transfers the application to the municipality for processing. Kela does not transfer an application, however, if they assess that a rejected expenditure item comes under basic social assistance. In this case you must apply to the municipal social services office for social assistance yourself.
By law Kela must process basic social assistance applications within 7 working days of all the required attachments being provided. Therefore you should check what attachments Kela needs and send them at the same time as the application. At present (4.5.2020) Kela is processing basic social assistance applications faster than required by law.
By law Kela must process urgent applications the same day or no later than the following day. The same processing times also apply to municipal social assistance applications.
You can apply for basic social assistance online using Kela’s e-services or by mailing the form to KELA, PO Box 10, 00056 KELA. You can print the application here.
You can also apply for municipal social assistance online on the municipality’s own website. If for some reason you can’t find it, call the social services office in your municipality and ask for advice.
You can get more information on the Kela website on what expenses you can get basic social assistance for.
How does part-time work or unpaid leave affect the payment of earnings-related allowance?
Part-time workers who receive an adjusted earnings-related allowance should also be laid off if the employer does not have a job to offer. They are then entitled to claim full earnings-related allowance from the Unemployment Fund instead of the adjusted allowance. Prior to this, the TE Office and the Unemployment Fund must be notified of the changed situation. Layoffs can also be part-time. If the lay-off is not full-time but has been done by reducing the weekly or daily working hours, the hours worked must be entered in the allowance application. Salary information from the Unemployment Fund is available from the income register. Read more here.
There is no entitlement to earnings-related allowance for unpaid leave (eg care leave).
Who can get sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease from Kela?
You can get sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease from Kela if you or your child falls ill with coronavirus and a decision has been taken by the physician in charge of infectious disease responsible for the municipality or hospital district to place you in quarantine or isolation.
My insolvent employer has not paid me the wages and bonuses that would belong to me. What do I do, can I apply for pay coverage?
If your employer is bankrupt or otherwise insolvent, you can apply for missing wages as a wage guarantee. Payroll security is a claim for an employee's employment relationship, the basis and amount of which have been determined. The payroll authority is the Center for Economic Affairs, Transport and the Environment (ELY Center). Read more about filing for pay security here.
More advice on pay security is also found in this news.
How does lay-off affect the unemployment security of a wage subsidy worker? What happens to someone in TE training or as a student?
If the wage-subsidized job has fulfilled the work requirement again, you are entitled to a new period of earnings-related allowance. On the other hand, if the work requirement has not been met in a wage-subsidized job, you are not entitled to a new earnings-related allowance.
In a wage-subsidized job, fulfilling the work requirement requires more working weeks than in a normal employment relationship, because in a wage-subsidized job, only 75 per cent of your working time is counted in the employment condition. Thus, 26 working weeks are normally required to fulfill the work requirement, while at least 35 working weeks are required for wage-subsidized work. If you have completed 35 working weeks, you are entitled to a new period of earnings-related allowance.
In the case of students or the unemployed who have participated in the training organized by the TE Office, the livelihood will continue as before, but the changed situation must be reported to both the TE Office and PAM's Unemployment Fund.
Who is entitled to a temporary epidemic support paid by KELA?
The Finnish government has decided on special temporary epidemic support to compensate for the loss of earnings of those who have to take unpaid leave from work due to caring for a child during the epidemic.
A person who has arrived in Finland from abroad and been placed in quarantine-like conditions can also receive temporary epidemic support, which is why he or she has had to take unpaid leave from work. Read more about epidemic support on Kela's website.
PAM unemployment fund
PAM unemployment fund e-services (unemployment fund, log in on the Suomi.fi identification service with your online banking codes or mobile key)
Other forms of social assistance via KELA