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 information on the insurances here.
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 daily 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.
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.
Research.fi website lists open, upcoming and closed funding calls.
Do you have questions?
If you have questions regarding working with a grant, you can contact us via FUURT’s e-service.
Grant funding combined with an employment relationship in terms of unemployment security
At some universities, researchers with grant funding are offered part-time employment. The combination of grant funding and an employment relationship may impact your unemployment security.
Checklist for the grant recipient
The best way to protect your rights is to familiarise yourself with your rights and agree on the necessary arrangements for the grant work with the grant maker, Mela as well as the place where the work is performed (for example, the university).
FUURT’s Grant Information Guide
What grant recipients should know about insurance, unemployment benefits and taxation? How to apply for a grant and what issues should be included in the application? Know your rights as a grant recipient and, in this role, know the good practices of the academic community!
FUURT members: You can find the guide in e-services.
If you are not a FUURT member but want to read the guide, you can acquire a password by submitting your contact information here.*
*I consent to being contacted by the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers during 2023.