If you are in work and you are a member of PAM, you earn towards the work requirement
If you become unemployed, you can get earnings-related unemployment allowance. The precondition for this is that you have met the work requirement.
The work requirement must have been met whilst you have been a member of the PAM unemployment fund. During your period of membership you need to be in paid employment for at least 26 calendar weeks. Every calendar week in which you have worked at least 18 hours and paid membership fees from your wage income accrues the work requirement.
You do not need to accrue the work requirement all at once. You can accumulate weeks towards your work requirement for example by doing part-time or intermittent work. The work requirement must be met, however, during a 28-month reference period. The reference period can be extended by a maximum of seven years on account of e.g. full-time studies, illness, compulsory military service, job alternation leave, birth of a child and caring for a child under the age of 3 or a service that promotes employment agreed with the TE Office.
When you have completed the 26 weeks of the work requirement, you are entitled to get earnings-related allowance (there are factors that may influence your right to an unemployment benefit if you are under the age 25, read more from TE Services website). The maximum period of the allowance depends on the length of your employment history (300, 400 or 500 days). That's why it's worth joining PAM, even if you're only doing a summer job!
If you change trade union, for example when you complete your studies and go to work in your particular field, the work requirement accumulated during your membership goes with you to the new unemployment fund.
Example of accrual of the work requirement:
You study for the service industry and join PAM as a student member. Membership doesn't cost you anything.
You start a summer job and join as a full member and pay membership fees from your wages.
Your summer job ends, you continue your studies. Full-time students don't need to pay membership fees.
Summer job. You pay membership fees from your wages.
You get gig work and pay membership fees from the wages you get.
You graduate. You have worked a total of 6 months while studying and paid membership fees to PAM, so you have earned the right to earnings-related allowance.