Job alternation leave offers the employee a possibility to a longer break which can be used to any purpose decided by the employee. Employees, civil servants and public office holders are entitled to job alternation leave.

The duration of job alternation leave is 100 consecutive calendar days at minimum and 180 consecutive calendar days at maximum.

Job alternation leave is based on voluntary agreement. The employee must meet the job alternation leave criteria and the employer must substitute him or her by an unemployed job seeker for the entire duration of the leave.

Job alternation leave must be agreed in writing

  • Employee has no absolute right to job alternation leave. Taking job alternation leave has to be agreed with the employer.
  • Job alternation leave contract shall be done in writing.
  • In the alternation contract the employer commits itself to substitute the employee, for the entire duration of the job alternation leave, by an unemployed job seeker who has been unemployed for at least 90 consecutive or non-consecutive days during the last 14 months prior to job alternation.
  • The 90-day condition does not apply to job seekers who are less than 25 or more than 55 years of age or recent graduates of less than 30 years of age (a maximum of one year after graduation).
  • The substitute must not be employed to the same job where the person on leave had worked.

Other conditions of job alternation leave

  • The employee must have been employed, as defined by the Pensions Act, for at least 20 years.
  • The employment relationship with the same employer has continued for at least 13 months before the beginning of the job alternation leave. The 13-month period may include a maximum of 30 days of unpaid absence (e.g. temporary lay-off, unpaid leave of absence).
  • Family leaves and military service are considered equivalent to days at work. However, only 25% of the employment criteria may consist of time equivalent to days at work.
  • Employment has to be full-time, or the employee’s working hours must exceed 75% of the industry’s typical full-time employee’s working hours.
  • Full-time entrepreneur, as defined in the Unemployment Protection Act, may not take job alternation leave.
  • Employee cannot retire right after job alternation leave. The maximum age to take job alternation leave is the lowest limit of the old age pension, as defined in the Pensions Act, deducted by three years.
  • Possible non-compete clause (NCC) remains valid during job alternation leave.
  • No annual leave is accrued during job alternation leave.
  • After job alternation leave, the employee has the right to return primarily to his or her old work. If this is not possible, the employee has to be offered work corresponding to the old work as defined in the employment contract or, if this is not possible either, other work corresponding to the employment contract.
  • Job alternation leave can be interrupted only in agreement with the employer.
  • The employee is advised to check the impact of job alternation leave on his or her taxation and check with the pension fund how it affects the employee’s future pension.
  • You are entitled to a discounted membership fee during your job alternation leave.

You may apply for job alternation leave compensation during your leave

You can apply for job alternation leave compensation from your unemployment fund (if you have been a member in the KOKO fund for at least 26 weeks) or from Kela within a maximum of three months from the beginning of your leave.

  • The amount of compensation is 70% of the unemployment allowance the employee would be entitled to in case of unemployment. No child supplements or other supplements are included in the job alternation leave compensation.   
  • Salary and other income from another employer and income from part-time entrepreneurial activities decrease the job alternation leave compensation.  In these cases, adjusted daily allowance is applied. However, the standard entitlement of 300 euros is not considered in the adjustement of the job alternation compensation.
  • Job alternation leave compensation is not paid if the employee receives, for example, sickness allowance. Social benefits which prevent the payment of unemployment allowance also prevent the payment of job alternation leave compensation. More information on preventing social benefits.
  • Social security benefits which are deducted from the unemployment allowance are also deducted from the job alternation leave compensation. Social security benefits decreasing other benefits.
  • The employee is not entitled to compensation during, for example, full-time employment of more than two weeks nor during the period when the employee receives pay or holiday pay from his or her employer.