Unemployment security

Your entitlement to unemployment benefit depends on whether you are working as a salary earner or an entrepreneur. The duration of the period of employment is also relevant.

Salary earner or entrepreneur?

Salary earner

If a worker is a salary earner, he or she works for a salary or some other form of remuneration on the basis of a contract of employment with an employer under that employer’s management and supervision.

Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur bears the financial risk with respect to the profitability of his or her business activities and is responsible for results.

As far as unemployment security is concerned, work which is paid for and which is not undertaken based on an employment relationship is business activity, i.e. an enterprise. Enterprise means work done as a company or as a self-employed individual.

A person’s inclusion in the unemployment security system as an entrepreneur is primarily based on whether that person is an entrepreneur within the meaning of the Employees Pensions Act or Farmers’ Pensions Act.

For the purposes of the Unemployment Security Act, an entrepreneur is regarded as someone who, inter alia,

  • has compulsory entrepreneur’s pension insurance (YEL) or farmer’s pension insurance (MYEL), except for grant recipients
  • is part-owner of a company under the Unemployment Security Act
  • undertakes paid work without establishing a company and is not in an employment relationship.

Cooperatives and other similar companies and corporations

Work undertaken via a billing service cooperative or other similar company or corporation is not generally performed in the context of an employment relationship. Such work is regarded as paid work undertaken as an entrepreneur. The TE Office judges entitlement to unemployment benefit in the same way as with any other entrepreneurial activity.

Workers’ cooperative the exception

Workers’ cooperatives where work is undertaken on behalf of the cooperative is not seen to be entrepreneurial activity.

A workers’ cooperative is one form of cooperative. It is one owned by its members: a company whose purpose is to employ its members. The purpose of a workers’ cooperative is not normally to make a profit: profits are distributed during the financial year in the form of salaries for the work done.

Membership of a cooperative is no hindrance to receiving unemployment benefit, as long as the workers’ cooperative has at least seven members and a member’s share of ownership is less than 15%. If the share is larger, the member is regarded as an entrepreneur.

General information:

Telephone service for personal customers

0295 020 713

weekdays 9.00–16.15


Unemployment security FAQ

Instructions

Requirements for entitlement to unemployment benefit

To qualify for unemployment benefit, you must have

  • registered with a TE Office as a job-seeker and still be seeking employment
  • be applying for and be ready to accept full-time work even during your period of (temporary) employment.
  • More information: The entrepreneur and unemployment security (te-palvelut.fi)

The agency that pays unemployment benefit (Kela or your unemployment fund) will look into how the benefit is to be paid and other relevant matters.

You can also familiarise yourself with matters relating to pensions and taxation at:

The effect of the duration of the period of employment on unemployment security

Work lasting no more than two weeks

Employment relationship:

  • You may be entitled to adjusted unemployment benefit if you work for no more than two weeks full- or part-time.

Entrepreneur:

  • If your work as an entrepreneur lasts for a continuous period of no more than two weeks, you will essentially retain your entitlement to unemployment benefit.
  • The TE Office will not look into the effect of a period of work of short duration undertaken as an entrepreneur on entitlement to unemployment benefit.
  • The agency responsible for paying unemployment benefit must be informed of any new employment arrangement. The unemployment benefit is adjusted based on the income you receive from business activities.

Work lasting more than two weeks

Employment relationship:

  • You may be entitled to adjusted unemployment benefit if you are employed part-time.
  • You will not be entitled to unemployment benefit if you are employed for more than two weeks full-time.

Entrepreneur:

Start of entrepreneurial activity lasting more than two weeks whilst unemployed: (in effect from 2 January 2018)

  • The TE Office will look into your unemployment situation and the start date of the entrepreneurial activity.
  • In general, the TE Office will not assess whether the business enterprise is full-time or part-time in the first four months of the entrepreneurial activity.
  • Income form the business activity must be declared to the agency paying unemployment benefit. You may be entitled to adjusted unemployment benefit.
  • If you apply for unemployment benefit for the period of entrepreneurial activity, you must still be actively seeking employment and apply for full-time work. Entrepreneurial activity is not a valid reason for refusing work offered, for example, or services promoting employment.
  • The full- or part-time nature of your entrepreneurial activity will be assessed by the TE Office four months after the enterprise starts.
    • If the entrepreneurial activity is then considered to be full-time, your entitlement to unemployment benefit will end.
    • If the entrepreneurial activity is considered to be part-time, you may be entitled to adjusted unemployment benefit.
    • The TE Office’s decision will only apply to the period following the first four months and will have no retroactive effect.

Entrepreneurial activity lasting more than two months (excluding that begun when unemployed in 2018)

  • The TE Office will determine whether you are an entrepreneur within the meaning of the Unemployment Security Act.
  • If you are considered to be an entrepreneur, the TE Office will decide whether your self-employment as an entrepreneur is full- or part-time.
    • The decisive factor here will be the workload involved, not the income or profit derived from it. Your employment is considered full-time if the workload required for the business activity is so great that you are unable to accept full-time work.
  • If you are considered to be a full-time entrepreneur, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefit if you are employed as an entrepreneur full-time continuously for a period exceeding two weeks.
    • If your entrepreneurial activity is considered to be part-time, you may be entitled to adjusted unemployment benefit.

When employment ends

After an employment relationship ends:

  • Regardless of how long an employment relationship lasts, the reason for terminating it may be of relevance as far as qualifying for unemployment benefit is concerned.
  • If the employment relationship has been temporary and you have worked until the fixed term has ended, you will be entitled to unemployment benefit after employment ends if the requirements are otherwise met.
  • For example, if your employment relationship is ending at your request, the TE Office will determine to what extent your notice of termination will affect your receipt of unemployment benefit.

After a period of entrepreneurial activity has ended:

  • With entrepreneurial activity that has lasted no more than two weeks, the agency paying unemployment benefit will confirm the duration of the period of employment and look into the requirements for the payment of adjusted unemployment benefit.
  • If you have been employed full-time as an entrepreneur for more than two weeks, to receive unemployment benefit, either the whole enterprise must cease or, in some situations, you must stop working.
  • Cessation of the enterprise is not a requirement for receipt of unemployment benefit if the TE Office took the view that your business activity is part-time and the situation has not changed.

Guidelines

Do this when employment starts and ends

If you are a jobseeker, always advise any changes in your search for employment and contact details mainly via the TE e-service. Also state whether you are applying for unemployment benefit. Unemployment benefit can only be paid for the period during which you, as a jobseeker, are looking for full-time work.

When work lasting no more than two weeks begins

Employment relationship:

  • Tell the agency paying unemployment benefit if you have begun to be employed.

Entrepreneurial activity:

  • Tell the agency paying unemployment benefit if you have begun to be employed.
  • Also inform the TE Office of your new employment status if it previously considered your entrepreneurial activity to be part-time and the business is expanding or it is uncertain as to how long the entrepreneurial activity will last. The notification many be made over the telephone to the telephone service for personal customers.

When work lasting no more than two weeks ends

Employment relationship and entrepreneurial activity:

  • Tell the agency paying unemployment benefit if your employment ends.

When work lasting more than two weeks begins

Employment relationship and entrepreneurial activity:

  • Inform the TE Office of your new employment status via the e-service or over the telephone to the telephone service for personal customers.
  • Tell the agency paying unemployment benefit if you have begun to be employed.

You may, if you wish, continue as a jobseeker with the TE Office or end your search for employment entirely.

  • If you end your search for employment, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefit.
  • If you continue as a jobseeker, the TE Office will determine your entitlement to unemployment benefit. To qualify for unemployment you must be actively seeking employment and looking for full-time work that matches your capacity for work.

When work lasting more than two weeks ends

  • If you are not a jobseeker as such, register as one by initiating your search for employment via the e-service, of if you have no access to the service, by calling the TE Office telephone service for personal customers.
  • If you are already officially a jobseeker, advise any change to the service using the e-service or by calling TE Office telephone service for personal customers.
  • The TE Office will determine your entitlement to unemployment security and, if necessary, ask you to send documentary evidence of your entrepreneurial activity or employment relationship.

Telephone service for personal customers

0295 025 713

weekdays 9.00–16.15


E-services