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Right to job alternation leave ends – legislative amendment now approved



The Parliament of Finland has approved a legislative amendment abolishing the job alternation leave system. The legislation enters into force on August 1. In other words, it is possible to start a job alternation leave until the last day of July.


Job alternation leave is an arrangement where a person with permanent employment and a sufficient employment history may take a fixed-term job leave. Employees do not have an explicit right to take job alternation leave. It is subject to agreement with their employer. Upon making a job alternation leave agreement, the employer simultaneously agrees to hire an unemployed jobseeker for the duration of the leave. The unemployed person does not need to be hired for the exact position vacated by the person taking the leave. However, working hours of the temporary employee(s) must, at minimum, equal the working hours of the employee taking the leave.


When does job alternation leave become an option?

You are entitled to job alternation compensation if, prior to taking the leave, you have been working for a minimum of 20 years and you have been employed by the same employer for at least 13 consecutive months. This period may include a maximum of 30 days in unpaid leave. All employment that accrues pension, including entrepreneurship, is included in your work history. Any period of time that is comparable to employment, such as family leave or military and non-military service, also accumulates your employment history. However, such periods may only amount to one fourth of your employment period. A minimum of 5 years must have passed from the conclusion of any previous job alternation leave. You may start a job alternation leave until July 31, 2024.

You may take a job alternation leave if

  • you have agreed on taking the leave with your employer
  • you have been employed full time by your employer for at least 13 months before starting the leave
  • the 13-month period includes a maximum of 30 days in unpaid leave
  • you have a work history of at least 20 years
  • minimum of 5 years have passed from the conclusion of a previous job alternation leave.

Unemployment fund pays job alternation compensation for its members for the duration of their leave. Job alternation compensation is 70% of the earnings-related allowance the applicant would be entitled to if they were unemployed. If the applicant is not a member of an unemployment fund, the job alternation compensation is applied from Kela and the compensation is calculated based on the basic unemployment allowance. The job alternation leave may last 100 to 180 days.


Right to job alternation leave ends

The job alternation leave system will be abolished on August 1, 2024. Any upcoming job alternation leave must start before August, i.e. on July 31, 2024 at the latest. In practice, this means that the job alternation leave agreement must be delivered to the TE Office by that date. Also, the start date of the employment agreement for the temporary employee must be no later than July 31, 2024.


Job alternation compensation recipient numbers at A-kassa

The number of job alternation compensation recipients has remained fairly constant for a long time. Last year, job alternation compensation was paid out to 609 members. Springtime around May is typically the most common time to take the leave, causing a surge in the number of compensation recipients. This year, the spike in growth will occur a month earlier and will be considerably sharper than in previous years. The growth is a direct consequence of the upcoming decision to abolish the job alternation leave system.


During early 2024, A-kassa has paid out far more in job alternation compensation than during the same period last year. In March, the number of recipients already exceeded the previous March by 30%, and in April, the number shows a huge increase of 114% compared to April 2023. It is likely that the number will continue to grow in the next couple of months before the legislative amendment enters into force.


Read more about job alternation compensation