General information about alternation leave
Job alternation leave is a voluntary arrangement in which an employee takes leave from work and agrees on this leave with the employer in a job alternation leave agreement.
The leave may last from 100 to 180 calendar days. In order to qualify for job alternation leave, your working hours must have exceeded 75 percent of the working hours of a full-time employee in the sector. Job alternation leave also has an age restriction, which means that the job alternation leave must start at least three years before you reach the minimum age for old-age pension under the Employees Pensions Act. For example, if you reach the minimum age for old-age pension at 64, you must start your job alternation leave by the end of the month during which you turn 61.
The leave must be taken in an uninterrupted period. The duration of the leave can be extended to up to 180 days. In other words, the maximum duration of job alternation leave with an extension is 180 calendar days. Any extension to the leave must be agreed at least two months before the agreed job alternation leave ends.
Job alternation compensation is paid for the duration of the job alternation leave. The amount of the compensation is 70 percent of your unemployment allowance without child increases. The amount of the compensation is calculated on the basis of earned income from the 52 weeks preceding the job alternation leave. The income does not include fringe benefits which you continue to receive during the leave. You can calculate the estimated amount of compensation by using the daily allowance calculator available in the electronic services of the unemployment fund. Wages and other earned income as well as certain social benefits affect the amount of compensation. Please note that the EUR 300 exemption is not applied to earned income received during job alternation leave.
You cannot receive job alternation compensation if you receive holiday pay from your employer, perform military service, work full-time for more than two weeks for an employer other than your own employer or work as a full-time entrepreneur, for example.
Your job alternation leave is deemed to have ended if you are entitled to receive maternity, special maternity, paternity or parental allowance or special care allowance under the Health Insurance Act and the entitlement or granted leave lasts no more than 18 workdays (Saturdays included). The same applies if you are granted leave owing to pregnancy, childbirth or care of a child for the same period as the job alternation leave.
You have the right to return to your previous job or a similar job after your job alternation leave. If your employment relationship is terminated for reasons beyond your control within the first 100 days of your job alternation leave, the job alternation compensation paid by the unemployment fund will not be recovered even if the maximum duration of the job alternation leave is less than 100 calendar days. Reasons beyond your control include bankruptcy of the employer or the termination of employment for financial and production-related reasons.
If you have previously taken job alternation leave, you must be employed for five years before you can take job alternation leave again.
In order to take job alternation leave you must meet the following preconditions:
20 years of employment history
You must have an employment history of at least 20 years before the start of your job alternation leave. Paid employment from which you have accrued pension and entrepreneurship from the age of 18 up counts towards your employment history. Your employment history before 1 January 2007 is determined based on registered periods of employment. This may include work performed before the age of 18. Starting from 1 January 2007, employment history is determined based on registered earnings. Employment history may also include periods during which you have been on child care leave or in military or non-military service and periods for which you have been paid maternity, special maternity, paternity, parental or special care allowance under the Health Insurance Act. These periods may not make up more than a quarter of the 20-year employment history. Employment in another EU or EEA member state is also included in the employment history. However, employment before Finland or the country of employment joined the EU is not included in the employment history.
Employment of at least 13 months
You must have been working for and in a service relationship with the same employer for a continuous period of no less than 13 months before the start of your job alternation leave. Your working hours must have exceeded 75 percent of the working hours of full-time employees in the sector. The 13-month period may include a maximum of 30 calendar days of unpaid leave. Periods of unpaid leave include unpaid holiday periods, lay-off periods and strikes, for example. Unpaid periods included in partial child care leave also count towards the maximum absence of 30 calendar days. Unpaid sick leave does not count towards the maximum absence of 30 calendar days and constitutes employment.
You must meet the conditions specified above to qualify for job alternation leave. You are responsible for making sure that you meet the above conditions before you start negotiations on job alternation leave with your employer.
Unemployed jobseeker as a substitute during leave
Your employer must hire an unemployed jobseeker via the TE Office for the duration of your job alternation leave. The substitute must have been registered as an unemployed jobseeker for a minimum of 90 calendar days continuously or in shorter periods in the 14 months preceding to the job alternation leave. The substitute must also be registered with the TE Office as an unemployed jobseeker immediately preceding the start of the job alternation leave. 90 calendar days of unemployment is not required if the substitute is under the age of 25 or over the age of 55; in which case one day of unemployment is sufficient. One day of unemployment is also sufficient if the substitute is under the age of 30 and has attained a vocational or academic qualification less than one year before the start of the job alternation leave. The assessment on whether the substitute meets the requirements is carried out by the TE Office and the employer.
It is advisable to contact the TE Office a couple of days before the start of your leave to make sure that they have received all the necessary documents. The agreement on job alternation leave and the employment contract of the substitute or other reliable documentation on the substitute’s employment must be submitted to the TE Office. It is recommended that the employer submits the above documents to the TE Office. However, you should make sure that this has been done, because job alternation compensation cannot be paid if the TE Office has not received the required documents. The substitute does not have to be hired to carry out your duties, but the working hours of the substitute must be at least the same as your regular hours.