Find out what your fund membership options are as soon as you start setting up your business. Notify the TE Office that you are starting as an entrepreneur when you are in the process of registering your business. If you start a business while you are unemployed, contact the TE Office before you set up your business as the registration date of your business may be deemed as the starting date of your entrepreneurship.
Membership of a wage-earners’ fund
You may remain a member of a wage-earners’ fund for a maximum of 18 months after beginning business activities. At that point, you must discontinue your membership. If you become unemployed before being an entrepreneur for 18 months, the employment condition accrued while you were still a wage earner remains in force. When you have acted as an entrepreneur for more than 18 months, your employment condition as a wage-earner is no longer valid, and in order to receive an allowance from a salaried employees’ fund later, the employment condition must be fulfilled again in full in an employment relationship.
Membership of an entrepreneurs’ fund
Entitlement to earnings-related daily allowance accrued as a member of a wage-earners’ unemployment fund remains intact if you transfer from there to an entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund within 3 months of becoming an entrepreneur. If you make the move later, your entitlement to earnings-related daily allowance will not automatically remain intact. Also, there may be an interval of no more than 1 month between fund memberships. If this 1-month period is exceeded, you must accrue your employment condition again from zero under the entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund.
If you become unemployed before meeting the entrepreneur’s employment condition (15 months of membership in an entrepreneurs’ fund), you may nevertheless be entitled to earnings-related daily allowance on the basis of post-protection. In this case, your earnings-related daily allowance will be based on the employment condition accrued while you were a wage earner.
For more information and advice on unemployment security for entrepreneurs, consult for example the unemployment fund for entrepreneurs, Yrittäjäkassa (former SYT).
You may be a wage-earner and an entrepreneur at the same time. If you have enough paid employment to meet the employment condition but your business activities are extensive enough to meet the entrepreneur’s employment condition, you may freely select whether to join the KOKO unemployment fund or an entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund. If you are a member of KOKO and become unemployed from your paid employment, the TE Office will evaluate the extent of your business activities and consider whether entrepreneurship is your primary or secondary occupation. If it is considered a secondary occupation by virtue of the paid employment you were simultaneously engaged in, you may be entitled to earnings-related daily allowance paid by KOKO.
Post-protection applies to you if you have resigned from KOKO and joined an entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund within 1 month. If you become unemployed before you meet the entrepreneur’s employment condition, you may be entitled to the earnings-related daily allowance that you would get if you were still a member of KOKO. Wage-earner’s daily allowance on the basis of post-protection is paid by the entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund. Post-protection also applies to those who leave an entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund and join a wage-earners’ unemployment fund within 1 month. If you receive entrepreneur’s post-protection daily allowance from a wage-earner’s fund, however, you are not entitled to wage-earner’s additional allowance days.
A member of an entrepreneurs’ unemployment fund is entitled to entrepreneur’s earnings-related daily allowance after being a member for at least 15 consecutive months and after meeting the entrepreneurs’ employment condition during the time of membership.
An entrepreneur’s employment condition is met when a person has worked as an entrepreneur for 15 months out of the 48 months preceding unemployment with business activities of substantial extent. ‘Substantial’ is defined as activities for which the work income equivalent used as the basis for statutory pension insurance is at least €13,247 per year (2021).