Nature of grant work

A researcher working with a grant is not an employee of the university, research institute or the funding organisation. The researcher lacks several benefits of employment but also the obligations. Even though the research funding organisation is often provided a report on the use of the grant after the work has been completed, work carried out under a grant is, in and of itself, gratuitous. Under a grant, the work or working time is not managed or monitored.

During a grant period, some amounts of salaried work, such as part-time teaching, are allowed.

Becoming a union member under a grant

It is possible to join the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers during a grant period. Members working with a grant have access to all the usual the membership benefits offered by the union. The membership insurances offered by the union, in other words leisure time traveller’s and accident insurances, are constantly valid for those working with a grant, even on work-related trips.


The statutory pension and workplace accident insurance of grant recipients is handled by the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution (Mela). The income that forms the basis of this insurance determines all of the benefits associated with the insurance and may also affect the benefits paid by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

FUURT membership insurances – non-occupational travel and accident insurances – are valid all the time for grant recipients e.g. on work-related trips, as they are not insured by an employer. Please see more detailed information on the insurances here.

Social security

In order to become a member of an unemployment fund, the applicant must be a salaried employee at the time of joining an unemployment fund, even if the employment is short-term. However, please note that the employment condition for earnings-related allowance requires at least 26 weeks of both employment and membership in an unemployment fund over the review period of 28 months before the start of the unemployment. The employment does not have to be continuous. The employment condition is accrued by calendar weeks containing at least 18 hours of employment (or at least 8 hours of teaching).

Grants are not taken into account when determining the amount of earnings-related unemployment benefit. Grant terms are not accepted for the employment condition of earnings-related allowance, but they extend the review period of the employment condition, which is why we do not recommend withdrawing from the fund during grant-funded work.

A grant awarded for a purpose other than studying or a dissertation will be taken into account as income when determining daycare fees.

All grants are taken into account as income when determining housing allowance and income support.

A researcher working on their postgraduate studies under a grant may be entitled to financial aid for students.


The amount of grants awarded by foundations, universities and other private organisations may exceed the limit of a tax-exempt grant, whereupon a back tax is paid for the share exceeding the tax-free amount of grant. The tax authorities usually receive information on paid grants directly from foundations. For more information on the taxation of grants and scholarships, please visit the tax authorities’ website.

Working abroad with a grant

A researcher working abroad with a grant awarded by a Finnish organisation may, if certain conditions are met, be covered by the Finnish social security system and it is not worthwhile for them to terminate trade union or unemployment fund membership when leaving Finland. However, we recommend reporting the departure abroad in advance to the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela so that any expenses caused by working abroad can be taken into account when determining the MYEL insurance premium.


For more information on the status, social security and taxation of those working with a grant, see the Grant Information for Researchers guide by the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers, the updated version of which was published in the autumn of 2017.

The statutory pension and workplace accident insurance of grant recipients is handled by the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution (Mela).

The website of the Association of Finnish Foundations contains useful information for grant recipients and funding organisations.


Do you have questions?

If you have questions regarding working with a grant, you can contact Union coordinator Miia Ijäs-Idrobo (see Contact).