Unemployment security for volunteers or other unpaid workers

Formal or informal voluntary work does not affect your unemployment security if it is unpaid and ordinary work of general interest, and if you are ready to accept full-time work.

During formal or informal voluntary work, you will be offered services that promote employment, and you may receive job offers. Formal or informal voluntary work is not a valid reason for refusing a job offer or an agreed service, or for ending participation in such a service.

When you are dealing with a TE Office or a local government pilot, a verbal notification of formal or informal voluntary work is usually sufficient. The TE Office or the local government pilot may send you a clarification request, the aim of which is to establish that the work in question is ordinary formal or informal voluntary work of general interest under the Unemployment Security Act.

Unpaid work

You do not have the right to unemployment security if you work without pay in a business or in other tasks which are normally carried out in an employment relationship or as business activities. 

However, you can do voluntary work with a community working for the public good, even if the work would normally be done in an employment relationship, provided that it is not focused on business activities. The Income Tax Act regulates separately activities which are not considered as the business activities of a community working for the public good.

  • If the organiser of the formal or informal voluntary work has occasionally had, for example, workers supported with pay subsidies who carry out the same or similar tasks to you, this does not mean that these are tasks that are normally carried out in an employment relationship. 
  • In sporting and cultural events and other spectator events, there may be both paid workers as well as formal or informal voluntary workers, but this does not mean that the work is normally carried out in an employment relationship. 

Informal care

When you work as an informal carer, you are self-employed. Report this in the E-services or to an expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot.

You can ask from the TE services' Unemployment Security Advisory Services how your situation will affect receiving unemployment benefits.

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Register as a job seeker

You can easily register as an unemployed job seeker in the E-services of TE services.

E-services

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