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When you have work history of more than 20 years, you can take a break from work by agreeing on job alternation leave with your employer and the employment authority.

The purpose of job alternation leave is to promote coping at work and at the same time improve the employment prospects of an unemployed jobseeker.

If the preconditions are met, you can take job alternation leave for 180 days. During your job alternation leave, you can receive job alternation compensation, the amount of which is 70 per cent of your earnings-related daily allowance.


The job alternation leave scheme is being discontinued

The Government has agreed to abolish the job alternation leave. According to the proposal, job alternation leave would be abolished as of 1 August 2024.

As of the abolition, you would no longer be able to agree on new job alternation leaves. Any job alternation leaves agreed upon and started before the abolishment can be taken as agreed.

The details of the act are still subject to change. We will provide further information on the matter along with the progress of the drafting.


Preconditions for job alternation leave

Job alternation leave and job alternation compensation are available to you when the following conditions are met:

  • ​​​​​​​you have a work history of at least 20 years before the beginning of the job alternation leave; 
  • you are in a full-time employment or public-service relationship;
  • your employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least 13 months without interruption before the beginning of the job alternation leave. This may include up to 30 calendar days of unpaid absence. Absence due to illness or accident is considered equivalent to being at work;
  • if your work is part-time, the working hours must exceed 75 per cent of the full-time employee’s working hours;
  • you have made an agreement with your employer on taking job alternation leave;
  • your employer hires as your substitute for the duration of your job alternation leave a person who is an unemployed jobseeker at the TE Office and who meets the requirements of the Act on Job Alternation Leave;
  • if you have previously received job alternation compensation, you must have worked for at least five years from the end of your previous job alternation leave.

When we count your work history, we will take into account all work in accordance with the legislation on earnings-related pension as well as any work on self-employed basis. A quarter of the required work history may also be time comparable to working, such as family leave, military service, and non-military service.

Restrictions on job alternation leave

You cannot take job alternation leave if you are self-employed and your working as an entrepreneur prevents the payment of unemployment benefits.

There is also an upper age limit, after which you can no longer take job alternation leave.

You can no longer take job alternation leave when the minimum age limit for your old-age pension is less than 3 years away. More specifically, you cannot start job alternation leave after the end of the calendar month during which you reach the age corresponding to the minimum age limit for starting old-age pension under the Employees Pensions Act less three years.

In other words, the upper age limit for taking job alternation leave depends on the minimum age limit for old-age pension under the Pensions Act. The minimum age for old-age pension depends on your birth year.

The upper age limits for taking job alternation leave, calculated from the minimum age limits for old-age pension, are as follows:

  • for those born in 1957: 60 years and 9 months
  • for those born in 1958: 61 years
  • for those born in 1959: 61 years and 3 months
  • for those born in 1960: 61 years and 6 months
  • for those born in 1961: 61 years and 9 months
  • for those born in 1962–1964: 62 years
  • for those born in 1965 or later, the minimum age limit for old-age pension is linked to life expectancy. Your pension insurance company will provide you with an estimate of your retirement age.

Duration of job alternation leave

The duration of job alternation leave is 100 calendar days at minimum and 180 calendar days at maximum. You must take your job alternation leave in one period.

You must agree on extending your job alternation leave with your employer no later than two months before the end of the originally agreed job alternation leave. However, the maximum duration of a job alternation leave is 180 days, so an extension is only possible if you have originally agreed on a duration shorter than the maximum duration.

You must agree on an early end of your job alternation leave or a temporary return to work with your employer. The duration of your job alternation leave will remain unchanged irrespective of any temporary return to work, and your job alternation leave will continue thereafter in accordance with the job alternation agreement, unless it is extended.

Job alternation compensation

The alternation allowance is 70 per cent of your full earnings-related daily allowance without child increases. You can estimate the amount of full earnings-related daily allowance with our calculator. When you multiply the result by 0.7, you will receive the amount of your alternation allowance. You can also see the amount of alternation compensation in the alternation compensation table.

Substitute

Your employer must hire a substitute for you for the duration of your job alternation leave. An unemployed jobseeker must be hired as the substitute. In practice, this means that the substitute must have been unemployed for at least one day just before the beginning of the substitution.

We cannot pay job alternation compensation if the substitute hired for the duration of your job alternation leave does not meet at least one of the following preconditions:

  • 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 the job alternation leave. 
  • Is an unemployed jobseeker under 30 years of age who has completed a vocational or university degree no more than one year ago.
  • Is an unemployed job seeker who is under 25 years of age or over 55 years of age at the beginning of the job alternation leave.

A full-time student cannot be hired as a substitute. The employment authority will help you find a suitable substitute.

To apply for alternation leave

first discuss the matter with your employer. Agree with your employer on alternation leave by written agreement. You can find the contract template on our website.

Before the start of the job alternation leave, contact the labour authority and submit a copy of the job alternation agreement. The employment authority also needs a copy of the substitute’s employment contract and a statement of your unpaid absences.

The labour authority examines whether the required conditions are met and gives us an opinion on them. Before taking a job alternation leave, make sure that the employment authority has all the necessary documents.

Apply for alternation compensation from us within 3 months of the start of your alternation leave. You can find the application on our website. The easiest way to send an application is through OmaYTK. Please include a copy of the alternation agreement. We’ll check your income records with the Incomes Register.

The application applies for alternation compensation for the entire period of alternation leave. We will pay the compensation retroactively in four-week periods.

If you work during your alternation leave, please let us know separately.

End of job alternation leave

When the agreed job alternation leave ends, you have the right to return to your previous job. If this is not possible, the employer must offer you some other equivalent job.

If your job alternation leave ends prematurely or you temporarily return to work, this must be agreed upon separately. The duration of your job alternation leave will remain unchanged irrespective of any temporary return to work, and your job alternation leave will continue thereafter in accordance with the job alternation agreement.

Your job alternation leave will end in derogation from the agreement if you become entitled to receive a maternity, special maternity, paternity, or parental allowance The same applies if you are granted leave owing to pregnancy and childbirth or care of a child, or if you receive special care allowance. Job alternation leave does not end if the aforementioned rights and leaves last no more than 18 working days. In such a case, job alternation leave will simply be interrupted for the duration of the leave.

If the employment relationship of the substitute hired for you ends before the end of the job alternation leave, the termination of the employment relationship is not contrary to the job alternation agreement if:

  • the employer hires, without delay and no later than two months after the termination of the substitute’s employment relationship, a new substitute as their replacement or, if
  • the employment authority cannot appoint a suitable person to replace the previous one.