Did you know that you can and should already join an unemployment fund during your studies?
As a student, you can join the unemployment fund if you are in paid employment.
When starting a summer job, it’s a good time to check the status of your unemployment fund membership and join if you are not already a member.
Safeguard for your working life
When you are a member of the fund, you accumulate earnings-related unemployment security for yourself while working. If you do not find employment immediately after graduation, you have the opportunity to receive earnings-related unemployment allowance paid by the fund.
The earnings-related unemployment allowance is based on wage income and is usually higher than unemployment benefits paid by Kela. For example, with a monthly income of €3,000, the earnings-related allowance is €1,700 per month. The amount of the basic daily allowance or labour market subsidy paid by Kela is about €800 per month in 2023.
Students can accumulate employment condition over a longer period of time
In order to receive earnings-related allowance, you must meet the employment condition, which means working for 26 calendar weeks, i.e. 6 months. However, the work does not have to be from one time period only: as a student, you can accumulate working weeks for several years, for example in summer jobs.
On the other hand, there cannot be any interruptions in the membership of the unemployment fund. So, after you join, stay a member of the fund throughout your studies – even if you don’t work alongside your studies all the time.
Earnings-relate security is accumulated by all kinds of paid work in accordance with the employment condition. Therefore, when joining the fund, you do not necessarily have to do work in a job related to your own field of study. A person working part-time can also join the fund, but there must be at least 18 working hours per week in order for the employment condition of the earnings-related allowance to be fulfilled.
For more information, check the Conditions for earnings-related allowance to see what is paid employment in accordance with the employment condition.
You cannot join an unemployment fund retroactively. It is therefore advisable to deal with the matter as soon as your job starts. If you are a union member, you will receive more detailed instructions on joining from your union. The membership fee for the KOKO unemployment fund is €63 this year.
Read more about the KOKO membership.