Job alternation leave

Agree on job alternation leave together with your employer. Job alternation leave can vary between 100 and 180 calendar days, during which an unemployed person is hired as your substitute.

If you are considering taking job alternation leave, check whether you meet the following conditions:

  • The maximum age for an employee to take job alternation leave is three years before their earliest retirement date. This limit does not apply, however, if you were born before 1957.  
  • Those taking job alternation leave must have at least 20 years of work history. Their work history is reviewed by the payer of the job alternation compensation, i.e., an unemployment fund or Kela. 
  • The person taking job alternation leave must have worked for the same employer continuously for at least 13 months. This period can include an unpaid period of absence of a maximum of 30 days.

The person recruited for the period of your job alternation leave must be registered as an unemployed job seeker at the TE Office.

If you are a customer of a local government employment pilot, contact your regional TE Office in matters related to job alternation leave. 

Job alternation compensation and its calculation 

You can receive job alternation compensation for the duration of your job alternation leave. You receive compensation even if your replacement's employment ends before the end of your job alternation leave. 

Job alternation compensation is equal to 70% of the daily unemployment allowance that you would receive if you became unemployed. Child increments are not taken into account in this calculation. Job alternation compensation is taxable income. 

By way of exception, the daily unemployment allowance on which the job alternation compensation is based is calculated according to the earned income received during the 52 weeks preceding the start of the job alternation leave. 

If you have been a member of an unemployment fund for at least 26 weeks immediately prior to the start of your job alternation leave, your benefit is calculated based on your earnings-related unemployment benefit and paid by the unemployment fund. 

In other cases, the compensation is based on basic unemployment benefit and paid by Kela. 

Work and other income during job alternation leave 

The purpose of job alternation leave is to support employees in coping at work and to provide unemployed jobseekers with fixed-term employment. You may still do other work during your job alternation leave if you so wish. 

Any salary and other earnings received during your job alternation leave reduce your job alternation compensation. In such cases, the compensation is based on your adjusted daily allowance. You are not entitled to compensation for periods where you are in full-time work for more than two weeks. 

However, the amount of the job alternation compensation is not affected by pay earned before the leave and paid during the leave if this is not pay for which you receive leisure time. In other words, your job alternation compensation is not affected by, for example, holiday bonus paid during the job alternation leave or by different profit and performance bonuses. 

Statutory benefits that reduce unemployment security (such as child home care allowance) also reduce job alternation compensation. 

By contrast, your job alternation compensation is affected by

  • survivors' pensions, 
  • housing allowance, 
  • child benefit, 
  • social assistance, or 
  • support for informal care. 

Restrictions on the right to job alternation compensation 

You are not entitled to job alternation compensation for periods during which

  • your employer is paying you a salary, annual holiday pay or other compensation and payments for which you receive time off – see the list below for details, 
  • you are engaged in military or non-military service or women's voluntary military service, 
  • you are serving a custodial sentence in a correctional institution, 
  • you are in full-time employment lasting more than two weeks in the service of someone other than your own employer, 
  • you are engaged in full-time entrepreneurship, or
  • you are receiving a benefit specified in the Act on Unemployment Security, such as daily sickness allowance, maternity, special maternity, paternity or parental allowance, special care allowance or training support 

The following, however, are not considered as a salary within the context of the first point listed above: 

  • training paid for by the employer, if the benefit is not counted as taxable income of the employee or 
  • fringe benefits that you also receive during your job alternation leave. 

Applying for job alternation compensation 

When you plan to take job alternation leave, submit a notification to the TE Office before the leave begins informing them that the conditions for the leave have been met. These include your employment during the preceding year and its full-time status. You can prove these, for example, by providing a copy of your pay slip. 

Apply for job alternation compensation from your unemployment fund or from Kela. 

Application forms are available on the website of the Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland or from the TE Office. 

Attach to the application a pay certificate of the full pay periods covering at least the 52 weeks preceding the job alternation leave and copies of the job alternation agreement.

A retroactive period of three months applies to job alternation compensation applications. 

The TE Office issues a statement on the labour policy requirements for paying compensation to the unemployment fund or Kela. They then decide on the compensation and ensure that it is paid. The compensation is paid retroactively on at least a monthly basis. 

Deliver to your local TE Office

  • a job alternation agreement signed by you and your employer and provided well in advance of the commencement of the job alternation leave and 
  • a trustworthy account of the employment of the unemployed person for the duration of your leave, preferably evidence such as a copy of your employment contract or letter of appointment. This must be provided either before the start of your job alternation leave or without delay after it begins.

Reporting duties 

When you are receiving job alternation compensation, inform the payer without delay of any work, business activity and other matters that affect the payment of the compensation. If you receive too much compensation, you will have to pay it back later.

Your employer, on the other hand, must inform the TE Office without delay if there are significant changes in the employment of the substitute for the person on job alternation leave. This is the case, for example, where their employment ends before the job alternation leave does. 

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