Unemployment security

Unemployment security is a monetary benefit received during unemployment or a temporary lay-off. You must register as an unemployed jobseeker and search for a full-time job in order to receive the unemployment benefit. Primarily, unemployment security cannot be received during a grant term. Moreover, research or, for example, dissertation work cannot be funded by unemployment security.

Unemployment benefits are not paid directly by FUURT to its members, but either by an unemployment fund (earnings-related allowance) or by Kela (basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy). Regarding unemployment benefits in international situations (i.e. migration in Finland), please see also guidelines in InfoFinland.

Earnings-related allowance

Members of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers are provided with unemployment insurance through the Teachers’ Unemployment Fund. When joining the union, you also join the unemployment fund as long as you meet the fund’s member requirement of being employed at the time of starting your membership. If you have been a member of the fund for at least 26 weeks and meet the employment condition, you will be entitled to earnings-related allowance in the event of unemployment. Scaled in proportion to your previous earnings, the earnings-related allowance is larger than other unemployment benefits.

Learn more about earnings-related allowance                                                                                           

Basic unemployment allowance

If you are not a member of a fund but you meet the employment condition, you may be entitled to Kela’s basic unemployment allowanceYou can be a member of the union even if you do not meet the requirements for the unemployment fund membership. If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, you can apply for basic unemployment allowance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

Labour market subsidy

If you are not entitled to earnings-related allowance or Kela’s basic unemployment allowance, Kela may grant you a labour market subsidy. If you are an unemployed jobseeker and do not meet the employment condition, you are entitled to a labour market subsidy. You are also entitled to Kela’s labour market subsidy if you are a member of an unemployment fund but do not yet meet the employment condition.

We offer our members assistance in matters related to unemployment security and in preparing an appeal to the Appeal Board and the Insurance Court after a refusal.

Unemployed doctoral candidates

If you become unemployed at the end of a grant term or an employment contract and your dissertation is not finished, you may be considered a full-time student, whereupon you will not be entitled to unemployment security. However, working on your postgraduate studies part-time is usually possible at the same time as searching for a job full-time. On the other hand, convincing employment authorities that the dissertation work is part-time may be challenging.

That is why you should be careful when registering as an unemployed jobseeker. If the funding for your dissertation work ends, remember to update your research schedule. Doctoral candidates often make the mistake of delivering the original dissertation defense schedules and plans to the TE Office even though the funding has ended and the candidate is no longer able to work on the dissertation full-time. In reality, the loss of funding usually requires major changes to the original schedule. Therefore, we recommend setting a realistic schedule for the future before registering as an unemployed jobseeker.

On the other hand, according to the established interpretation policy of the TE Offices, submitting a dissertation for preliminary inspection is a clear indication of finishing the dissertation work. After the preliminary inspection, the workload of making corrections to the dissertation is considered so minor that it does not stop the doctoral candidate from accepting a full-time job. It is important to inform the TE Office immediately if you find employment or, for example, get a new grant.

Unemployed grant-funded researchers

Receiving unemployment allowance requires the grant term to have ended verifiably and the unemployed jobseeker to be in search of a full-time job – and, following the end of the three-month period of protection, also for jobs other than research work – and at the disposal of the labour market. In other words, inform the TE Office very clearly when registering that your research work has either ended or been interrupted. If your grant-funded research has been interrupted at the end of your grant term, it is important to clearly state that the research will not continue until new funding is received. If the employment authority interprets that the grant recipient plans to continue their work after the end of their grant term, the recipient will be considered self-employed, whereupon they will not be entitled to unemployment security. For this reason, it is extremely important to report any interruptions to grant-funded work until new funding has been found.

When assessing the duration of the grant term, the funding organisation’s report on the duration of the grant term takes precedence. If the grant term has been specified in months, the duration will be calculated as full months from the start of the grant-funded work. An applicant may also prove the duration of the grant term with a Mela report on the duration of the insurance period. It is important to note that, primarily, unemployment security cannot be received during a grant term.

After the grant term, the grant will not be taken into account as income when determining the amount of earnings-related allowance; the amount will be determined according to established income earned during the employment condition and preceding the unemployment. However, a grant term is considered an acceptable reason for absence from the labour market. Grant terms extend the 28-month review period of the employment condition by a maximum of seven years. Researchers who become unemployed after a grant term and do not meet the employment condition may apply for labour market subsidy from Kela.

If an unemployed jobseeker is awarded a grant, the work will be considered to start on the first day when the grant funds become available. In grants longer than four months, the grant term is primarily determined according to the start of the MyEL insurance obligation (Mela). Always inform the TE Office of new grants or employment immediately.

Useful links:

Teachers’ Unemployment Fund

Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland

TE Services