Temporary relief for registering as unemployed, studying while unemployed and payment of unemployment benefit

Some temporary legal amendments approved by the Finnish Parliament at the turn of April and May have simplified the registration process for unemployed jobseekers and payment of unemployment benefit. These changes also improve flexibility in cases where a jobseeker receiving unemployment benefit has to suspend the employment-promoting service or interrupt short-term studies due to the coronavirus epidemic. The maximum duration of the new business start-up grant has also been extended. We have summarised the legal changes in this news bulletin.
12.05.2020 15:16 Pauli Vento
Photo: Patrik Lindström / SAK

How have unemployment benefit payments been eased in anticipation of a potential overload of applications?

  • An unemployment fund or Kela may pay part of an unemployment benefit claim in advance for no longer than six months before finally deciding the benefit application, meaning that claimants will not have to wait an unreasonably long time for payment. Such benefit advances were previously payable for only two months. Unemployment benefit must nevertheless still be claimed for each individual period of joblessness.
  • No special adjustment period or associated income calculation will apply when computing adjusted unemployment benefit, meaning that the adjustment period and the benefit claim period will always be four consecutive calendar weeks or one month, even if this period includes days when the applicant is not eligible for benefit.
  • The adjustment will be based on the income declared by a self-employed claimant if changes in business income prevent the use of a final taxable income figure for this calculation.

These legal changes will remain in force until the end of October 2020.

What changes have been made to registering as a jobseeker?

  • Jobseeker registration no longer lapses, even if the jobseeker fails to complete the service needs assessment or prepare a draft employment plan through the TE Office E-services portal (OmaAsiointi).
  • The first jobseeker interview will only be arranged when the TE Office considers this appropriate, but efforts should be made to arrange later periodic interviews every 3 months.

These changes will remain in force until the end of June 2020.

Can the employment promotion service be suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic?

Yes. A jobseeker is entitled to suspend the employment promotion service without losing unemployment benefit for justified cause arising from the coronavirus epidemic.

Automated monitoring of employment plan implementation by the online service has also been suspended, meaning that jobseekers will not lose entitlement to unemployment benefits due to failure to implement the employment plan.

These legal amendments are in force retroactively as of 16 March 2020, and will expire at the end of July 2020.

May I continue claiming unemployment benefit when my short-term studies have been prolonged due to the coronavirus epidemic?

Yes. A jobseeker whose studies have been delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic may continue those studies while claiming unemployment benefit, even after exceeding the six-month maximum study period. The delay must be reported to the TE Office. This legal amendment will remain in force until the end of 2020.

For how long may a jobseeker receive a start-up grant on beginning full-time self-employment?

An unemployed or otherwise eligible applicant beginning full-time self-employment may normally receive a start-up grant from the TE Office for up to 12 months. This maximum period has now been temporarily extended to 18 months. The amendment seeks to ensure that self-employed claimants are able to launch and establish their businesses, despite the exceptional conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic. The amendment will remain in force until 30 June 2021.

What to do if you become unemployed or laid off?

1. Register as a jobseeker on your very first day of unemployment or layoff.

  • You can do it at TE Office's E-Services (service only in Finnish and Swedish) if you are a citizen of Finland or an EU or EEA Member State.
  • If you are a citizen of other countries or do not have online banking codes, a mobile certificate or a smart ID card:
    • If you have been a customer previously, you can register via the telephone service: 0295 020 713.
    • Register by using an open online form without identification.
    • Visit the TE Office in person - you can find paper registration forms and instructions outside the office. Fill in the form and leave it in a mailbox outside the office or mail it later. If you can not fill in the form, contact TE Office by phone.

2. Follow all the instructions of TE Office carefully.

3. The unemployment benefit must be applied separately. Apply and ask about your right for the benefit from your unemployment fund or Kela.

Further details of the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the world of work

SAK information package on the effects of the coronavirus on the world of work:
in English
in Finnish
in Swedish