Mandatory waiting period

In a mandatory waiting period (karenssi), a job seeker temporarily loses the right to unemployment security because they have acted in an improper manner in terms of labour policy. In legislation, the waiting period is referred to as an unpaid time period. On this page you will find information on the most common causes of a mandatory waiting period.

Improper actions in terms of labour policy are the causes for a mandatory waiting period

Your job search obligation, participation in services, and the timeframe of completing them are agreed upon in your employment plan.

The TE Office and the local government pilot can make job offers to job seekers. Job offers are obligatory if your job search has lasted six months since the initial interview. A job offer is not obligatory if you have reported that you have applied for the agreed number of job opportunities before the job offer.

If you, for example, neglect your appointments, updating the plan or participating in services, fail to fulfil your job search obligation, or repeatedly fail to apply for a job indicated in an obligatory job offer during the 12-month review period, waiting periods of different lengths may be imposed for these improper actions.

Failure to comply with the job seeker service process

The most common causes for being imposed a waiting period are, for example

  • failure to look for work,
  • refusal of a mandatory job offer from the TE Office or the local government pilot,
  • failure to attend an initial interview, job search interviews, or supplementary job search interviews,
  • refusal or failure to draw up an employment plan or an equivalent plan, and
  • refusal or suspension of service.

You will also be put under a mandatory waiting period if you repeatedly fail to meet agreed appointments with the TE Office or the local government pilot, or if you do not submit the documents related to your ability to work as agreed. As a result, your job search and thus your right to unemployment security will end for the time being.

The graduated waiting period works as follows. A reminder will follow from the first forgetful action or failure. If you do not fulfil your agreed job search obligations after receiving the reminder, you will be placed on a 7-day mandatory waiting period. If you still fail to comply with your obligations, you will be subject to a 14-day waiting period. For the fourth failure to comply, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment security for the time being. The review period is 12 months.

Please note that the mandatory waiting period is different from the 5-day waiting period. The 5-day waiting period refers to the first five days of unemployment for which the provider of unemployment security, i.e. Kela or the unemployment fund, does not pay the daily allowance.

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Refusal to work

An expert from the TE Office or the local government pilot can make you job offers. Job offers are mandatory if your job search has lasted six months from the initial interview. Employers can also directly offer you work. Refusing work may result in a temporary loss of unemployment benefits.

If your own actions cause an employment relationship to not start, this is considered a refusal to work.

The regulations of the Unemployment Security Act concerning refusal to work are only applied to work in an employment or public service relationship.

  • If you refuse the job for which you have been selected without a valid reason, the mandatory waiting period is 30 or 45 days, depending on the length of your employment. A mandatory waiting period based on a refusal to work begins 30 days after the refusal. If you find new employment before the start of the waiting period, you can avoid the financial disadvantage caused by it.
  • If you refuse a mandatory job offer provided by the TE Office or the local government pilot, a graduated waiting period will follow. This means that a reminder will follow from the first forgetful action or failure, and if you do not fulfil your agreed job search obligations after receiving the reminder, you will be placed on a 7-day mandatory waiting period. If you still fail to comply with your obligations, you will be subject to a 14-day waiting period. For the fourth failure to comply, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment security for the time being. The review period is 12 months.

Resignation or dismissal from work

If you resign without a valid reason, the mandatory waiting period will be 30 or 45 days from the end of your employment, depending on the length of your employment. If the work would have lasted no more than five days, the waiting period is 30 days. If the work would have lasted more than five days, the waiting period is 45 days.

If you cause the termination of your employment with your own improper actions, you will be placed under a waiting period of 30 or 45 days from the termination of your employment, depending on the length of your employment.

Refusal or discontinuation of participation in services

If you refuse a work or training trial or other employment-promoting service without a valid reason, a graduated waiting period will follow. This means that a reminder will follow from the first failure to comply, a 7-day waiting period from the second, a 14-day waiting period from the third, and from the fourth, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment security for the time being. The review period is 12 months. If your actions cause you to not be selected for a service, this is considered a refusal.

If you terminate the service without a valid reason, a graduated waiting period will follow. This means that a reminder will follow from the first failure to comply, a 7-day waiting period from the second, a 14-day waiting period from the third, and from the fourth, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment security for the time being. The review period is 12 months.

If you do not take part in the initial interview or integration training (including self-study with unemployment benefits) during the integration period, a graduated waiting period will follow. This means that a reminder will follow from the first failure to comply, a 7-day waiting period from the second, a 14-day waiting period from the third, and from the fourth, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment security for the time being. The review period is 12 months.

Valid work and service-related reasons, i.e. when a waiting period is not imposed

Job seeker service process

If you have an obstacle that prevents you from participating in an interview, job search discussion, or drafting an employment plan, let your assigned expert know. If the obstacle is an illness, accident, or other cause beyond your control, no mandatory waiting period will be imposed.

Resignation from work

You will not be placed under a waiting period in each case of resignation, as you may also have a valid reason to resign. You may have a valid reason to resign,

  • if the average duration of your daily commute is more than three hours for full-time work and more than two hours for part-time work, you have an acceptable reason to resign within three months of starting work,
  • if, within one week of resigning, you move to another municipality where your spouse has a secure job or business and the duration of the daily commute exceeds an average of three hours for full-time work and two hours for part-time work,
  • if your place of work changes during your employment so that the duration of your daily commute to a new place of work exceeds an average of three hours for full-time work and of two hours for part-time work,
  • if the job is not suitable for you given your ability to work,
  • if you have a so-called zero-hour contract, and there has been no work available during the 12 calendar weeks prior to the resignation during which the employment requirement could be fulfilled, i.e. generally at least 18 hours, or
  • if you are not entitled to mediated unemployment security and your salary is less than EUR 1,283 per month.

When looking at time, public transport, the use of a bicycle or your own car, as well as the possibility to walk on a business trip are taken into account. You are not required to own a car.

Criteria in accordance with the Employment Contracts Act, such as non-payment of wages and endangering occupational safety, are also considered valid reasons for resignation. However, try to resolve conflicts at the workplace first. You can talk to your supervisor yourself or with the help of a trade union representative or an occupational safety and health representative. The occupational safety and health authorities can help you with certain matters.

Refusal to work

You may have a valid reason for refusing a job that you have applied for or have been individually selected for by your employer without being imposed a waiting period, if it is

  • part-time work, where your earnings would be less than your unemployment benefit while completely unemployed (when the salary for the work and the adjusted unemployment benefit are added up and the employment costs are deducted),
  • work that is against your religious or conscientious beliefs,
  • work that requires performing inappropriate work tasks,
  • work involving a clear threat of violence,
  • work involving harassment or other inappropriate treatment causing harm or danger to the employee's health,
  • work that cannot be considered suitable for you given your ability to work,
  • work that does not provide a salary in accordance with the collective agreement or, in the absence of a collective agreement, less than EUR 1,283 per month for full-time work,
  • work for which the salary is based entirely on a commission or, if the salary is partly based on a commission, the fixed part of the salary in full-time work is less than EUR 1,283 per month, or
  • work for which the duration of your daily commute would exceed an average of three hours for full-time work or two hours for part-time work.

You also have skills protection, which means that during the first three months of unemployment, you can refuse work that does not correspond to your professional skills acquired through education or work experience.

You can also refuse if you have not been given a reasonable amount of time to arrange childcare or care for another person dependent upon you and to overcome commute-related or other similar difficulties.

If you refuse a job that you had applied for and been selected for, you have a valid reason to refuse the job only if you were unaware of the above matters when applying.

You will never be imposed a waiting period for refusal to work as an entrepreneur.

Refusal or discontinuation of participation in services

You may refuse to participate in a service promoting your employment or discontinue using the service without notice, if

  • the service is not suitable for you considering your state of health or your ability to work and function,
  • the daily commute to the place where the service is provided exceeds an average of three hours,
  • the service provider neglects their responsibility for the occupational safety of the person participating in the service or the service cannot be organized safely for any other reason,
  • the service provider fails to comply with the legislation governing the organization of the service or the terms of the service contract, or
  • the service differs significantly from what was agreed upon in the employment plan or an equivalent plan.

You are allowed to refuse or discontinue labour market training if the work in the sector is not suitable for you considering your state of health and work ability, or the income of you and your dependants is not reasonably secured during the training. A reasonable income means that you receive benefits in accordance with your entitlement to unemployment security.

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If you have any questions regarding the mandatory waiting period, please contact the unemployment security advice telephone service.

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