Pension may also accrue in unpaid periods

Besides paid employment, earnings-related pension accrues during certain unpaid periods.

Unpaid periods during which pension accrues include the period you have been paid job alternation leave compensation, earnings-related unemployment benefit or sickness allowance. Pension also accrues for maternity, paternity or parental leave. Subject to certain conditions, you may also accrue benefit comparable to pension for caring for a child under the age of 3 or for periods of studies leading to a qualification or degree.

Earnings-related benefits for which pension accrues:

  • earnings-related unemployment allowance and job alternation leave compensation
  • earnings-related educational benefits and adult education allowance
  • parental allowances 
  • earnings-related sickness allowance and partial sickness allowance
  • rehabilitation allowances provided for in the Acts on earnings-related pensions and rehabilitation allowances
  • rehabilitation allowances paid as a result of a road accident or workplace accident
  • special care allowance
  • per diem allowances paid as a result of a road accident, military injury or workplace accident.

Pension accrual in its current form was added to pension acts from the beginning of 2005. No pension accrues for unpaid periods prior to 2005. Nor does earnings-related pension accrue for pension paid as a result of workplace accident or road accident.

How much pension accrues?

The amount of pension accruing for unpaid periods depends on:

  • the length of the unpaid period and
  • your earnings on which the benefit paid to you is based.

The pension accrual rate for unpaid periods is 1.5% a year

For example, during a period of sickness allowance, pension accrues at a rate of 65% of the earnings on which the allowance has been based. If sickness allowance has been paid to your employer, you will not accrue pension for it.

Pension accrues on earnings-related unemployment until you reach the lowest age in your age group. Pension accrues on other benefits also as long as your earnings-related pension accrues.

You may also accrue pension from paid employment concurrently with an unpaid period.

See the subheadings below for more details about pension accrual.

Unpaid periods during which pension does not accrue

Pension does not accrue if you

  • are under the age of 17
  • have reached the age beyond which earnings-related pension no longer accrues
  • are on earnings-related unemployment allowance and have reached the lowest general retirement age in your age group
  • are on full or partial disability pension, rehabilitation allowance or a comparable foreign benefit
  • are on old-age pension, years’-of-service pension or comparable foreign benefit
  • have received less than EUR 17,807.01 (in 2019 money) in pensionable employment income before retiring.

A foreign pension does not prevent pension accruing for studies leading to a qualification nor does caring for a child under the age of 3.

You do not accrue pension for periods of study and for maternity, paternity and parental leave until you have reached the age of 18.

 

Pension accruing for care of children under the age of 3 and for parental leave

A parent staying at home to care for their child under the age of 3 and who receives a child home care allowance for this accrues pension.

Pension does not accrue if you were employed or on partial parental leave.

Benefit accrues for periods of care of a child under the age of 3 according to a fixed earnings basis provided by law. The earnings basis in 2019 is EUR 741.96 a month.

For example, if you care for your child under the age 3 on home care allowance for a year, you accrue a pension of EUR 11 a month for this period. Pension of EUR 22 a month accrues if you are two years on home care allowance with a child under the age of 3.

Maternity, paternity and parental leave

Pension also accrues for maternity, paternity and parental leave. In these cases, the amount of pension is calculated on the earnings on which the per diem allowance is based. These earnings are taken into account in the amount of 117%.

 

Pension accruing for periods of study

The accrual of pension depends on the type of qualification you have completed. You are entitled to the benefit if you study for a vocational upper secondary qualification or higher education degree. You must complete your qualification or degree to be eligible for the benefit. If you have completed your degree abroad, you must also have received a study grant from Finland to be eligible.

Benefit accrues for periods of study according to a fixed earnings basis provided by law. The earnings basis in 2019 is EUR 741.96 a month.

Qualification or degree

Pension accrues for

Amount of pension accrued each mont

vocational upper secondary qualification (and competence-based   qualifications of the same name)

3 years

EUR 33/month

bachelor’s degree awarded by university of applied sciences (or similar)

4 years

EUR 44/month

bachelor’s degree awarded by a university 

3 years

EUR 33/month

master’s degree awarder by a university or university of applied sciences

5 years

EUR 55/month

The total time benefit accrues for qualifications or degrees is limited to 5 years. This means that even if you were to complete 3 university degrees, the maximum pension you accrue is EUR 55 a month.

Pension does not accrue on

  • general education qualifications such as the matriculation examination
  • post-graduate studies
  • further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications
  • qualifications completed in addition to a lower/higher degree
  • qualifications or degrees that you have completed before 1 January 2005
  • qualifications or degrees that you have not completed.

Pension accruing for periods of unemployment

Pension accrues on earnings-related unemployment allowance until you reach the lowest general retirement age in your age group.

The amount of pension is based on the earnings on which your earnings-related pension allowance has been calculated. Your earnings are deemed to be 75% of the earnings on which the unemployment allowance is based. You accrue pension at an annual rate of 1.5% of the earnings on which the allowance is based.

If you have been unemployed after 2005, the periods of unemployment will be shown in your pension record under the heading “Pension-accruing social security benefits” (following gainful employment).

A slightly different pension calculation method applies if you received earnings-related unemployment allowance prior to 2005. This part of the pension is shown in your pension record under “Additional earnings-related pension”.

The easiest way to review your pension record is the My Pension online service.

Pension accruing for job alternation leave 

Less pension accrues on job alternation leave than from employment. During job alternation leave your earnings are deemed to be 55% of the earnings on which job alternation compensation is based. Pension then accrues on these earnings at a rate of 1.5%.

Impact of job alternation leave on the amount of pension

For example, if a 50-year-old person earning around EUR 35,000 a year takes 6-months job alternation leave, this will reduce their future monthly pension by around EUR 19 a month. This amount can be offset by continuing to work for around 5 more months after having reached retirement age.

Age limit

There is an age limit for job alternation leave. You must start job alternation leave at least three years before you reach the minimum old-age retirement age. This age limit does not apply to persons born before 1957.

More information and advice for those considering job alternation leave

For more information about job alternation leave, please contact your own unemployment fund or Kela. At Kela, job alternation leave comes under employment benefits.