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Joining early has its benefits

Earnings-related security is an unknown concept for most young people, but being a member of an unemployment fund has many benefits for students. Joining an unemployment fund is worth considering as soon as you start your first summer or part-time job.

Did you know that anyone over the age of 18 years who is a member of an unemployment fund and satisfies the eligibility criteria, such as the working condition, can claim an earnings-related daily allowance? 

What this means in practice is that you get more money if you become unemployed or are laid off than you would without being a member of an unemployment fund. The amount of your earnings-related daily allowance depends on the wage that you were earning before you lost your job or were laid off. An earnings-related daily allowance is, on average, double the basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy that you would get from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). 

You cannot join an unemployment fund while you are unemployed. That is why it is important to plan ahead and join while you have a job.  

Build up employment history through summer jobs or part-time work while you study ​​​​​​​

All paid work – including summer jobs and part-time work – counts towards satisfying the working condition, which is one of the eligibility criteria for an earnings-related daily allowance. Summer jobs and part-time work count towards satisfying the working condition just like any other form of paid work.  

Satisfying the working condition requires working at least 18 hours per week for a period of 26 weeks. Your pay also needs to be based on the applicable collective agreement. Check your employment contract to make sure that it mentions the collective agreement that applies to you.  


  • Join an unemployment fund (YTK) as soon as you start your first job. 
  • Each week during which you work at least 18 hours adds a week to your employment history. 
  • Once you have accumulated 26 weeks of employment history, you are deemed to satisfy the working condition and qualify for an earnings-related daily allowance if you become unemployed.
  • You can also satisfy the working condition by working intermittently, as long as all 26 weeks of work that are needed to satisfy the working condition fall within a period of 28 months (‘review period’).
  • If you are studying, the review period can be extended by up to seven years. 

How long is the review period? As a rule, the review period during which the working condition must be satisfied is 28 months, but full-time students can have their review period extended by as much as seven years. Periods of study are not taken into account in the calculation of the length of the review period. The review period for satisfying the working condition can also be extended if you are attending military or alternative civilian service. 

In other words, you can satisfy the working condition even if you only worked, for example, in the summers during your studies. The key thing is to have worked at least 18 hours per week for the required 26 weeks during the review period. In order to take advantage of this concession, you need to join an unemployment fund while you have a job and keep paying your membership fee throughout your studies. 

Can I get an unemployment allowance while I am a student?  ​​​​​​​

You cannot receive an unemployment allowance and student benefits at the same time. Student benefits are the primary form of financial aid for full-time students, and in most cases you will not qualify for an unemployment allowance until after your studies. 

You can claim an earnings-related daily allowance – provided that you have built up enough employment history – in, for example, the following circumstances: 

  • You decide not to pursue further education and start working instead, but later find yourself unemployed or laid off. 
  • You work summers during your studies but fail to find work after your graduation. 
  • You have built up a history of summer jobs and part-time work before entering military service, but cannot find work after you are discharged. 

YTK Worklife gives you security and support in and out of work ​​​​​​​

Members of YTK who also join YTK Worklife get access to a wide range of additional services for just EUR 24 per year. Benefits of joining YTK Worklife include, among others, job search coaching, leisure-time accident insurance and discounts on yoga and exercise classes. We also have a team of legal advisors ready to help you to navigate the complexities of labour law, as well as an online learning library with thousands of resources. Find out more about YTK Worklife and the benefits that await you! 

Membership of YTK Worklife is free for students, but please remember that joining just YTK Worklife does not make you a member of the unemployment fund. You can join YTK Worklife at any time after you start your studies. If you work summers or have a part-time job, it is worth also joining the unemployment fund so that the employment history that you build up will count towards your satisfying the working condition and make you eligible for benefits if you become unemployed. Find out more about YTK Worklife student membership! 

Did you know?

  • Tens of thousands of people under the age of 30 years join unemployment funds every year. 
  • More and more young people make the prudent decision to join an unemployment fund early.  
  • YTK is the most popular unemployment fund among young people. 

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