Unemployment security

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for developing and preparing the legislation concerning income security for the unemployed.

Basic income is secured for unemployed jobseekers through unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy. There are two types of unemployment allowance: basic unemployment allowance and earnings-related unemployment allowance.


Unemployed persons can receive basic or earnings-related unemployment allowance

Unemployed jobseekers may receive basic unemployment allowance from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) or earnings-related unemployment allowance from an unemployment fund. The grounds for receiving basic or earnings-related allowance are otherwise the same but the unemployed person needs to be a member of an unemployment fund to receive earnings-related allowance.

An unemployed person is entitled to receive unemployment allowance if he/she is 17–64 years old and

  • lives permanently in Finland
  • has registered as an unemployed jobseeker at the TE office (employment office)
  • is seeking full-time work
  • is able to work and prepared to accept a job
  • meets the work requirement,  which means that
    • the person has been in paid employment for at least 26 weeks during the 28 months preceding the unemployment (as wage-earner) or
    • the person has been self-employed for at least 15 months during the 48 months preceding the unemployment and his/her business activities have been substantial in terms of their extent.

Payment of unemployment allowance starts after the person has been registered as an unemployed jobseeker at the TE office for five working days (waiting period).

The duration of the unemployment allowance depends on the person’s employment history. If the employment history is shorter than three years, the maximum payment period of the unemployment allowance is 300 days. If the employment history is longer than three years, the maximum payment period is 400 days. However, the unemployment allowance is payable for a maximum of 500 days for unemployed persons who have met the work requirement after reaching the age of 58 years and have an employment history of at least five years. In addition, ageing unemployed persons who meet the work requirement are eligible for additional days of unemployment allowance.  The right to additional days applies to unemployed persons who are born

  • between 1955 and 1956 and turn 60 before the end of the maximum period for receiving unemployment allowance
  • in 1957 or 1960 and turn 61 before the end of the maximum period for receiving unemployment allowance
  • in 1961 of after that and turn 62 before the end of the maximum period for receiving unemployment allowance.

They must also have a history of at least 5 years of employment during the previous 20 years.

If the conditions for additional days are not met, the unemployed person is entitled to services or work organized by the home municipality or the TE office for as long as necessary to maintain the person’s right to unemployment allowance until his/her retirement age.

If an unemployed person has received unemployment allowance for the maximum period or does not meet the work requirement, he/she may receive labour market subsidy.

Activation model for unemployment security

The activation model for unemployment security will be abolished as of 1 January 2020.

The benefit cuts involved in the activation model will no longer affect unemployment benefits paid after 1 January 2020. Any unemployment benefit cuts made on the basis of the activation model will be removed from the beginning of 2020. However, cuts made pursuant to the activation model will affect unemployment benefits accrued in 2019 and paid out in January.


Adjusted unemployment benefit

If unemployed persons are working part-time or only occasionally during their unemployment period, their unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy will be coordinated with the earnings. Earnings under EUR 300 per month do not reduce the amount of unemployment benefit. If the earnings exceed EUR 300 per month, a sum corresponding a half of the earnings exceeding EUR 300 will be reduced from the unemployment benefit. You can estimate the amount of adjusted unemployment benefit here:

Unemployment benefits can be applied for at unemployment funds or Kela

Earnings-related unemployment allowance can be applied for at the unemployment fund where the unemployed person is a member. Basic unemployment allowance can be applied for at Kela. You can ask for more information about unemployment benefits from Kela or your own unemployment fund. Information is also available on the websites of your unemployment fund, the Federation of Unemployment Funds TYJ or the Social Insurance Institution, Kela..

Appealing against decisions on unemployment benefits

An unemployment benefit decision always includes instructions how to appeal. Both Kela’s and unemployment funds’ decisions can be appealed to the Unemployment Security Appeal Board.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not process appeals, objections or complaints.