Unemployment security for persons under the age of 25

Are you under 25 years of age without a professional degree and have finished comprehensive school or upper secondary school? Conditions for unemployment security that apply to you partially differ from those of other job seekers. Your situation will change when you receive vocational training or take part in a service that promotes employment.

Unemployment security and labour market subsidy for persons under the age of 18

If you are under 18 years of age and have not completed education after comprehensive school or general upper secondary school leading to a qualification that provides professional skills, you are usually not entitled to a labour market subsidy paid on the basis of unemployment.

If you are a 17-year-old job seeker, you can receive  

  • unemployment security that is basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy, if you have completed your compulsory education, i.e. obtained a vocational qualification or matriculation examination, or
  • labour market subsidy for the duration of participation in a service promoting employment if you have completed your compulsory education with a matriculation examination even if you do not have vocational education after general upper secondary school.

A person under the age of 18 may also be entitled to unemployment security provided that they have interrupted their compulsory education due to a weighty reason referred to in the Act on Compulsory Education. These include long-term illness, parental leave, or being abroad.

Those under 25 are obligated to apply for training   

Are you under 25 and have had no education beyond comprehensive school or general upper secondary school? In order to be eligible for unemployment security, in the spring you must apply for at least two opportunities for education leading to a degree that will start in the following autumn, provide professional skills, and for which you meet the requirements for admission.

  • The training does not have to be part of the joint application to upper secondary education and preparatory education. You may also apply to a university or university of applied sciences.   
  • If you have only completed comprehensive school, you may also apply for places to study in general upper secondary schools intended for young people comprising at least 150 credits.
  • If you are completing upper secondary school in the spring, you must apply in the spring that you graduate for education that begins in the autumn and provides professional skills. You must also apply to study if you intend to complete military or non-military service immediately after general upper secondary school.
  • If you are invited to an entrance examination, you must participate in the exam as well as other events related to the application process.   
  • If you are offered a place to study, accept it and begin your studies.   

If reasons related to matters such as your state of health or language skills prevent you from applying for education, discuss the matter with an expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot. You can also agree on meeting the obligation to apply to study in some other way.

Prerequisites for receiving unemployment security  

If you are still an unemployed job seeker at the beginning of the autumn term (1 September), an expert from the TE Office or the local government pilot will inquire what training you have applied for.

You will lose your right to unemployment security from the beginning of the autumn term, i.e. from 1 September until further notice if 

  • you have not applied for at least two educational opportunities without a valid reason, 
  • you are not selected for training due to reasons attributable to you, or 
  • if you refuse to accept training or do not start training without a valid reason.

If you quit your studies without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment security from the day that you quit.    

To receive unemployment security, you are not required to apply in the autumn for education that begins in the spring. However, if you do apply for education in the autumn and you get a place to study, but fail to start your studies in the spring without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment security until further notice.   

Your right to an unemployment security will be restored if one of the following conditions is met:

  • You have completed a vocational qualification or higher education degree.
  • You have spent at least 21 calendar weeks working at a job that meets the conditions of being employed, which means that you have worked at least 18 hours a week, taken part in services that promote employment, studied full time, or worked full time as an entrepreneur or at your own job.   
  • You reach your 25th birthday.

Kela can impose a mandatory waiting period for your labour market subsidy, during which you will not receive the labour market subsidy. The maximum length of the waiting period is 21 weeks. Kela will decide on the length of the waiting period.

Services that promote employment 

If you are not entitled to unemployment security due to not applying for education or training or due to discontinuing studies, you can still receive unemployment benefits while participating in services promoting employment.

Services promoting employment include rehabilitative work activities, job-search coaching, career coaching, work try-outs, and labour market training.

More information

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