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Illness and incapacity for work

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The effect of illness and incapacity for work for earnings-related allowance

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Read more about sickness allowance on Kela's website

Illness and disability are two different things. If you have been found unable to work, you must apply for sickness allowance from Kela. Kela pays the sickness allowance after the self-responsibility period. The unemployment fund can pay earnings-related allowance during the period of self-responsibility for sickness allowance.

Getting sick

Short-term illness is not an obstacle to the payment of earnings-related allowance if the illness lasts no more than 10 business days. Saturdays are included to business days, but not public holidays.

If the illness lasts more than 10 days, you must apply for sickness allowance from Kela.

Self-responsibility period for sickness allowance

Sickness allowance can be paid after the self-responsibility period for sickness allowance. Earnings-related allowance can be paid from the self-responsibility period for sickness allowance if you received earnings-related allowance immediately before you fell ill. This means that the earnings-related allowance must have been actually paid for the day before the illness. If, for some reason, earnings-related allowance could not be paid for the day before the illness, there is no entitlement to earnings-related allowance at all from the self-responsibility period of sickness allowance.

If you are applying for an earnings-related daily allowance from the A-fund, proceed as follows:

  • always report your sick leave in the earnings-related daily allowance application
  • mark the daily statement of the application as "sick" from the first day of illness
  • indicate the duration of your illness, if it is already known
  • you can send your application to the fund according to your normal application rhythm for either 4 weeks or one month.

When the self-responsibility period for the sickness allowance has passed and the illness continues, Kela can start paying the sickness allowance.

Read more about sickness allowance on Kela's website


Incapacity for work

The Unemployment Fund cannot decide on whether you are disabled or not. The decision on incapacity for work is made by Kela or the pension company. Mere sick leave proven by a doctor's certificate does not define you as unfit for work as defined in the Unemployment Security Act.

From the point of view of the Unemployment Security Act, you are only disabled if you receive sickness allowance or partial sickness allowance according to the Health Insurance Act or disability pension or rehabilitation allowance according to the National Pension Act or a benefit paid based on total incapacity under another law.

You cannot receive earnings-related daily allowance if you receive the above-mentioned benefits or your employer pays you sick pay based on full-time work.

Detailed instructions