I am at the end of my career

When approaching retirement age, you may be considering whether you will continue working or retire. Job Market Finland provides information to support you in making your decision.  

As your retirement age approaches, you get to make a significant personal decision: you can continue working, take part-time retirement, or enjoy your retirement days in full. We also offer information on what to do if you need to retire on a disability or career pension or if you become unemployed just before retirement. There is also the option of returning from retirement to continue working.

Working at retirement age 

Continued employment after the earliest retirement age 

Working can be motivating even if you are reaching retirement age. The older you are when you end your career, the higher your pension will be. However, you must sign a new employment contract even if you continue with the same work. 

Work arrangements made at the workplace, vocational rehabilitation, or partial disability pension can all help you to continue working if, for example, you have an illness or a life situation that reduces your ability to work. Even if you are unable to continue your current work, you may still have plenty of work ability left for some other tasks or to continue working on a part-time basis.

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Part-time pension and partial early old-age pension

Part-time pensions were abolished at the beginning of 2017 with the introduction of the pension reform. The pension reform did not affect part-time pensions that have already begun – if you are in this category, you will continue to receive your part-time pension as normal until you retire. The reform replaced the part-time pension with a partial early old-age pension.

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Becoming unemployed towards the end of one’s career

If you become unemployed at the end of your career, you may be entitled to unemployment security. Register as an unemployed job seeker through the E-services of TE services no later than on your first day of unemployment.

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Retirement at the end of your career

When you are about to retire, you should use the pension calculator to check how much pension you will receive. Once you have made your decision to retire, terminate your employment and fill in the pension application form. It is a good idea to apply for your pension approximately two months before retirement.

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Old-age pension

You can apply for an old-age pension once you reach the minimum retirement age for your age group. With the same application, you can apply for a pension from both Kela and an employee pension institution.

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Years-of-service pension

If your ability to work has deteriorated permanently and you were born in 1955 or later, you can apply for a years-of-service pension. This is a new alternative introduced by the pension reform for those who have had a long career of heavy work.

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Disability pension

You may receive a disability pension (sickness pension) if you are not yet at the age of retirement and your ability to work has been reduced for at least one year, for example due to illness or disability. 

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Pension from abroad

If you live in Finland and apply for a pension from an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you must notify Kela, your employee pension institution, or the Finnish Centre for Pensions that you are also applying for a pension from abroad. You will need a separate application form for other countries with which Finland has a bilateral social security agreement. The Finnish Centre for Pensions will submit your application to the relevant organisations overseas.

You must yourself find out about your pension entitlements in countries with which Finland has not made such an agreement.

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Work during retirement

Even if you are already retired, you can return to work if you wish. While receiving an old-age pension, meaning a pension received because of reaching a certain age, you can work without facing any income limits. However, it is a requirement that your pre-retirement employment relationship has been terminated. You can also work while on a part-time pension and disability pension. There are certain restrictions that apply in these cases, however, including income limits. When on a disability pension, you can try returning to work by pausing your pension based on certain conditions.

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When on a pension you get to decide, according to your life situation, whether you want to work or to participate in voluntary activities.

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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 leave will be abolished

Parliament has approved the government's proposal to repeal the act governing job alternation leave, resulting in the cessation of payments for job alternation compensation. Job alternation leave can be initiated by July 31, 2024.

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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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The term working ability means every person’s individual ability to cope with their work. It is affected by a number of factors, including physical and psychological resources, attitude, and skills. There are various services to help you assess your working ability.

You can carry out a self-assessment of your work ability by completing the Abilitator questionnaire. Assessing work ability may also require a health assessment. In that case, contact the health services in your area. You can also get help in assessing your work ability from the TE Office or a local government trial. If you are under 30 years old, you can also use the services of the One-Stop Guidance Center (Ohjaamo).

The Abilitator is a free self-assessment method of work ability and functioning for all people of working age. With the Abilitator quiz you can find out about your situation, strengths, and development needs.


You should find out what your current state of health is if it has not been checked in a long time or if you feel like it has changed. If you are unemployed, the TE Office or local government pilot is responsible for providing you with an examination of your working ability and functional capacity. You need a medical certificate so that you can participate in services promoting work ability.

The state of health of unemployed persons can be ascertained in the health examination of unemployed persons organised by the municipality, the state of health of employed persons in occupational healthcare, and the state of health of students in student healthcare.

Your TE Office or local government pilot expert has the responsibility to direct you to services that are appropriate for your working ability and ability to function. 

TE Offices employ designated working ability coordinators that help employers employ people with partial working ability and support job seekers in matters related to working ability and finding employment. Working ability coordinators are there to support you in all stages of finding employment and staying employed. If you are a customer of a local government pilot, your home municipality will support you in matters related to your working ability and finding employment. Telephone services are also available. 

Work Ability Coordinators at the TE Offices (toimistot.te-palvelut.fi)⁠

If you are under 30, visiting a One-Stop Guidance Centre can help you get started with assessing your work ability. The One-Stop Guidance Centre will give you information and guidance based on your needs in matters related to, for example, your studies, finding employment and coping with everyday challenges. 

The One-Stop Guidance Centers (ohjaamot.fi)⁠

If you are partially able to work, various services can help you find employment 

If your work ability is limited or otherwise impaired by a disability or illness, your employment can be promoted through, for example, multisectoral joint services or rehabilitation measures. If your ability to work requires changes at your workplace or you need help with certain tasks, your employer may be able to provide financial support to help you make such arrangements. You can promote your chances of getting a job with a large employer by requesting from the TE Office or a local government trial a certificate stating that you have been entered in the customer register of TE services as a job seeker with partial work ability.

You may have the opportunity to use the cross-sectoral joint service promoting employment, known as TYP, if you are struggling to find employment due to difficulty coping, limited ability to function or otherwise reduced work ability. 

Cross-sectoral joint service promoting employment (TYP)

Rehabilitative work activities may be an appropriate solution if you have been unemployed for an extended period of time and are returning to working life, starting a career, or recovering from an illness or difficult life circumstances. Rehabilitative work activities are intended for people who are unable to participate in the services offered by TE services. 

Rehabilitative work activities

Rehabilitation may be useful if a disability or illness is making your studies, your work or coping with different stages in life difficult. 

Rehabilitation services are organised by Kela, public health care, occupational health care, municipal social services, disability organisations, traffic and accident insurance institutions, and authorised pension companies. Kela and traffic and accident insurance institutions also secure your livelihood for the period they spend organising or reimbursing comprehensive rehabilitation. 

Vocational rehabilitation can help you choose an appropriate profession, find employment, stay employed and return to employment, regardless of your illness. Traffic and accident insurance institutions, authorised pension companies, and Kela organise statutory vocational rehabilitation. To receive vocational rehabilitation, you need to meet the stipulated requirements. 

You can ask your doctor or Kela which organisations’ rehabilitation services you may be eligible for. Your TE Office or local government expert can also help you determine where you may be able to get rehabilitation. 

Finding or keeping a job may require changes at your workplace. You may also need help with certain tasks at work. 

Employers have the responsibility and often also the desire to make reasonable adjustments to duties and working conditions if it eliminates detriments to work caused by disabilities or illnesses. 

Employers can be granted a subsidy for arranging working conditions. To find out if an employer would be eligible to receive a subsidy for arranging working conditions if they hire you, talk to your TE Office or local government pilot expert. You can also raise the matter with an occupational health care professional if you are already employed and your current employer needs to arrange working conditions. It is a good idea to let your employer know if they are eligible for the subsidy. 

Subsidy for arranging working conditions

As a TE services customer, you can request a certificate from your TE Office or local government pilot that proves that you have been registered as a job seeker with partial work ability in the TE services customer register. The purpose of the certificate is to make it easier for job seekers with partial working ability to find employment with major employers. Once you have received the certificate, deliver it to the employer. 

Todistus suurtyönantajalle osatyökykyisyydestä (vates.fi, in Finnish) ⁠

Support for maintaining the ability to work

While an illness or disability may reduce your work ability and functional capacity, this does not necessarily mean that you are completely unable to work. You can get a wide range of help to maintain your work ability.

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Support for job seeking

You need to be proactive to find a job. You can also use a range of services to help in your job search.

This website is part of the European Commission's Your Europe portal. Did you find what you were looking for? Give feedback! (europa.eu)