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Unemployment Benefits in Helsinki

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Unemployment allowance is intended to provide economic security to unemployed persons who satisfy the condition of previous employment. It is payable for up to 500 days.  The daily unemployment allowances paid after 1 January 1994 are deducted from the maximum entitlement. Recipients entitled to unemployment pension who reach the age of 60 continue to receive the allowance until the end of the calendar month in which the 500-day limit is reached.

Benefits paid in respect of unemployment include the following

  • training subsidy for persons whose employment office has directed them to a labor market retraining course
  • training allowance
  • unemployment allowance (basic or earnings-related) for persons who on becoming unemployed meet the condition regarding previous employment (see below)
  • labor market subsidy for persons who do not qualify for unemployment allowance
  • unemployment pension for the long-term unemployed aged 60 or over
  • pension assistance for long-term unemployed born between1941 and 1947

In order to qualify for unemployment allowance from KELA, unemployed persons must satisfy a condition relating to the length of their previous employment. After a specified waiting period, unemployed persons who meet this condition can get unemployment allowance in the form of either a basic allowance (from KELA) or an earnings-related allowance (from an unemployment fund). Unemployed persons who do not satisfy the employment condition or have received unemployment allowance for the maximum period can receive a labor market subsidy from KELA.

Wage security refers to the cash benefits employees can get if their employer due to bankruptcy or insolvency is unable to pay their regular wage, salary or other compensation. Wage security covers up to a limit the liabilities that employers under the terms of the employment contract have towards their employees. It must be applied within three months of the date on which the payment became due. Application forms are available from and must be returned to the employment office.

Unemployed persons can, provided that they satisfy the employment condition, contact an employment office to get into labor market training. There is also a cash benefit linked to participation in such training. Unemployed persons with a long history of employment can get a training allowance if they undergo training that they have sought out for themselves. Elderly workers who have been unemployed for a relatively long time may qualify for unemployment pension.

Unemployed persons who have received  benefits  for the maximum period allowed (500 days) or who do not meet the previous-employment condition required to qualify for unemployment allowance, are eligible for the labor market subsidy. If unemployment allowance has been paid for 500 days, labor market subsidy is granted, without a means test, for an additional 180 days.If an unemployed person does not satisfy the condition regarding previous employment, or if payment of the non-means-tested labor market subsidy has ended, labor market subsidy is paid, subject to a means test, indefinitely.  Payment of labor market subsidy can be suspended for the same reasons which apply to the unemployment allowance.

A six-week benefit suspension can also be imposed if a person repeatedly refuses offers for job training, career guidance, rehabilitation or adult education. Persons aged 18-24 who refuse an offer for a job, labor market policy measure or training (i.e. does not apply for a suitable course of vocational training or quits school) become ineligible for labor market subsidy until age 25. Eligibility is restored if they show proof of having completed vocational training.

Unemployment allowance is payable to unemployed persons

  • who are between ages 17 and 64 and living in Finland (persons between 65 and 67  are as a general rule, eligible only when temporarily laid off)
  • who are fit and available for work
  • who have registered with an employment office (no registration necessary if an employer informs the employment office of an impending furlough);
  • who are seeking full-time employment;
  • for whom no suitable job or training has been found; and
  • who satisfy the condition of previous employment.

Unemployment allowance is not paid to persons who

  • receive a training subsidy in accordance with the Act on Labour Market Training for Adults,
  • are entitled to maternity, paternity or parental allowance or are on leave due to pregnancy, childbirth or child care
  • receive special care allowance
  • receive early old-age pension or individual early retirement pension under the National Pensions Act or the earnings-related pension Acts, old-age pension, disability pension or some other benefit payable on account of full work disability
  • receive unemployment pension
  • receive change-of-generations pension or farm closure subsidy
  • receive rehabilitation allowance
  • receive compensation for loss of income under the terms of an accident or motor insurance policy or the Military Injuries Act insofar as they relate to rehabilitation;
  • continue to receive their regular pay or other compensation during a temporary layoff
  • have received from their employer an additional end-of-service financial benefit ("golden handshake"); in this case the unemployment allowance is not paid during the period this additional benefit would cover were it to be paid in the form of regular wages or salary (evidence of income required for at least the six months preceding the end of service)
  • are entitled to holiday pay for the period for which the allowance would be paid
  • are self-employed or private entrepreneurs
  • are full-time students
  • are not available for work e.g. because of travel abroad, incarceration, performance of national military service or institutional care.
  • are receiving income from the sale of a business.

Update 20/05/2008


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