Summary of legislative amendments to unemployment security in the autumn

There have been a number of amendments to the Unemployment Security Act during 2024, and more changes will follow already in the autumn. Below is the KOKO fund’s summary of the upcoming changes.

Job alternation leave will be abolished on 1 August 2024

Job alternation leave will no longer be available from August 2024. In order to still be able to take job alternation leave, the job alternation leave must be started and the agreement on the job alternation leave must be submitted to the TE Office by 31 July 2024 at the latest. The job alternation leave substitute’s employment contract must also start by the end of July.

Employment condition will be extended and amount of wages will affect time accrued towards the employment condition

The employment history required to be eligible for earnings-related unemployment allowance, also known as the employment condition, will become longer. As of 2 September 2024, the duration of the employment condition will be doubled, which means that you will need to have been working for one year instead of six months to receive daily allowance.

In this case, you are eligible for earnings-related unemployment allowance if you have worked at least 12 calendar months during your unemployment fund membership and have been paid at least €930 a month. In the past, the requirement has been that, during the unemployment fund membership, a person has worked at least 18 hours per calendar week for 26 calendar weeks.

  • You are still covered by the old employment condition if your last work week that counts towards earnings-related unemployment allowance ends on or before 1 September 2024.
  • You are covered by the employment condition in accordance with the new act if you have been employed starting 2 September 2024 and are paid at least €465.

In order to be able to calculate the employment condition purely in accordance with the provisions of the 12 calendar month employment condition under the new act, the employment condition must accumulate in its entirety during the validity of the new act, i.e. from 2 September 2024. For some daily allowance applicants, the accrual of the employment condition is still calculated according to the old rules and for some as a combination of the old and the new employment condition. When the new employment condition includes time from the old employment condition, the employment condition weeks accrued before 2 September 2024 will be converted to employment condition months by calculation.

Read more about fulfilling the employment condition on the KOKO fund website: Conditions for receiving earnings-related unemployment allowance

Amount of earnings-related unemployment allowance will decrease as duration of unemployment increases

Earnings-related unemployment allowance will be staggered going forward. This means that unemployment benefit will decrease:

  • to 80% of the initial level after eight weeks of unemployment (about two months), and
  • to 75% of the initial level after 34 weeks of unemployment (about 8 months).

In the past, the level of unemployment benefit has been constant throughout the period of receiving earnings-related unemployment allowance.

However, the amendment will not apply to daily allowance periods that have already started before the amendment enters into force. The level of earnings-related allowance will decrease as described above when the earnings-related allowance is paid for work done from 2 September 2024 onwards. In practice, the unemployment has then started in September or later.

The staggering applies in principle to all beneficiaries of earnings-related unemployment benefit. The change would also affect people who are on additional days of earnings-related unemployment allowance, partially employed or receiving entrepreneur’s earnings-related unemployment allowance.

Wage-subsidised work will not accrue right to earnings-related allowance

Until now, wage-subsidised work has counted towards the employment condition at a rate of 75%, but this possibility will end. As a rule, wage-subsidised work will no longer count towards the employment condition if the work started on or after 2 September 2024.

Wage-subsidised work could, however, accrue the employment condition when wage subsidy has been paid for hiring a person with reduced work ability. In such a situation, the employment condition would accrue after the wage subsidy has been paid for 10 months. Starting from 11 months, the employment condition would accrue for 75% of working hours. Any rounding would be made down to the nearest full month of the employment condition.

When wage-subsidised work is counted towards the employment condition, it will extend the period during which work can be counted towards the employment condition (the review period).

Age-related exceptions will be abolished

The following exceptions to the Unemployment Security Act based on age will be abolished:

  • Persons aged 57 or over may be covered by an obligation to employ that guarantees them a job.
  • The level of daily allowance for persons aged 58 or over is protected. The protection is relevant when a person is in a low-paid job and becomes unemployed again, with the level of daily allowance being recalculated.
  • Persons aged 60 or over can meet the prior work requirement for earnings-related allowance in an employment promoting service. The amount of daily allowance will not be recalculated if the employment condition has been partially met on the basis of an employment promoting service.

As of 2 September 2024, the above-mentioned obligation to employ and protection for the level of earnings-related unemployment allowance will no longer be available.