The government of our country has taken a number of measures related to changes in unemployment benefits.
Some of the changes were entered into force already at the beginning of the year (for example, the extension of the waiting period), and some will enter into force later in the spring (child increases and the exempt amount of income will be removed) or early autumn (changes to the work requirement).
Did you know that earnings-related unemployment allowance may only be paid if you have been a member of the unemployment fund when you became unemployed for at least the time required for the work requirement? In addition, a precondition for receiving earnings-related daily allowance has been the fulfilment of the 26-calendar-week work requirement, which is mainly examined during the 28 months preceding unemployment. The law, which enters into force on 2 September 2024, doubles the length of the work requirement required for earnings-related unemployment allowance.
The work requirement for the earnings-related unemployment allowance will be extended from 2 September
The work requirement will be extended to 12 months (i.e. approximately 52 weeks) from 2 September 2024. Until 1 September 2024, the work requirement accumulates, as it has so far, that is, during the 26 calendar weeks that meet the work requirement before unemployment.
If you have a 26-week work requirement accumulated by 1 September 2024 at the latest and your unemployment starts on 2 September 2024 or before the work requirement has accrued in accordance with the new law for at least half of the work requirement month, the work requirement in accordance with the old law is sufficient for the payment of earnings-related unemployment allowance.
If you join the unemployment fund no later than Monday 4 March 2024 and the work requirement accumulates for each week, the 26 weeks required for the work requirement will be fulfilled on 1 September 2024. However, it should be taken into account that if the work requirement does not accumulate for even one week during the period in question (4.3.–1.9.2024), for example, due to an unpaid absence, the 26-week work requirement will not be in accumulated by 1 September 2024.
It is also worth noting that the 26-week work requirement according to the old law is not “locked in”. So it is not enough that you have accrued the 26-week work requirement under the old law before 2 September 2024, if you do not then apply for earnings-related daily allowance due to unemployment, part-time work or lay-off. When you continue to work while the new law is in force for at least half of a work requirement month, the work requirement will be interpreted in accordance with the new law. In practice, the accumulated work requirement will be “locked in” only if the person has been out of the labour market for an acceptable reason immediately before registering as an unemployed jobseeker. Acceptable reasons for being out of the labour market include illness, compulsory military service, non-military service, studies, a grant period and the birth of a child.
When the accumulation of the work requirement is examined according to the new euro-based rules, the duration of the work requirement is 12 months. In this case, calendar weeks that meet the work requirement accumulated before 2 September 2024 will be converted into work requirement months, so that 3 or 4 calendar weeks accumulating the work requirement will constitute one month of work requirement, and respectively 1 or 2 calendar weeks accumulating the work requirement will constitute half of a work requirement month.
Examples of accumulating the work requirement. The unemployment fund makes decisions on the payment of unemployment allowance. The unemployment fund gives more information on this.
- A person has joined as a member of the unemployment fund on 4 March 2024. They have been a student throughout their membership, but have worked in a job that accumulates the work requirement alongside their studies. The member will graduate in August 2024. They will have accrued a 26-week work requirement by 1 September 2024. They will continue to work full-time in September (receiving a salary of at least €930/month), and will be unemployed as of 1 October 2024. After the law change, they will have accumulated a month of new work requirement, so the work requirement will be interpreted in accordance with the new law. The member is not entitled to earnings-related unemployment allowance, as the 12-month work requirement in accordance with the new law is not met, even if the weeks that meet the work requirement accumulated from 4 March to 1 September 2024 are converted into work requirement months.
- A member will graduate in October 2024. They will have accrued a 26-week work requirement by 1 September 2024. They study full-time until their graduation on 2 October 2024 and will be unemployed as of 3 October 2024. Since studying is an overhyped period and the member has not accumulated a new work requirement after 2 September 2024, the member is entitled to earnings-related unemployment benefit on the basis of the 26-week work requirement in accordance with the old law.
- A member works full-time from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024, (salary at least €930/month) and becomes unemployed on 1 January 2025. During the validity of the new work requirement, they have worked for a total of 4 months from 1 September to 31 December 2024, and will receive earnings-related unemployment allowance, because the 12-month work requirement under the new law has been met during the period from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024.
More information here and up-to-date information about the changes: tyj.fi/en/ and erko.fi/en/. Some of the changes are still being prepared (e.g. staggering of the earnings-related unemployment allowance)
How can I join an unemployment fund?
You can only join the unemployment fund when you are currently employed.
You can join the unemployment fund by using the form in OmaLoimu. The unemployment fund membership begins on the joining date, at the earliest. The joining notification can also be submitted in advance if the end date of the employment is known.