The entrepreneur and unemployment security

Working as an entrepreneur or finding work through self-employment affects your unemployment benefits. Find out how your personal situation affects your unemployment security.

The TE Office will determine whether you are an entrepreneur as referred to under the Unemployment Security Act. This assessment may not be consistent with solutions made in connection with taxation, for instance.

Issues such as the following are significant for the unemployment security system:

  • an entrepreneur's pension insurance (YEL) or farmer's pension insurance (MYEL)
  • finding employment as an entrepreneur or a private trader
  • a share of ownership in a company.

The share of ownership applies to both the shares of family members as well as ownership through a so-called intermediary company.

Full-time and part-time entrepreneurship

The TE Office will first determine whether you are an entrepreneur as referred to under the Unemployment Security Act. If you are considered an entrepreneur, the TE Office will determine whether you are employed as a full-time or part-time entrepreneur. If you are neither a wage-earner nor an entrepreneur, you may be self-employed. For example, family caregivers are considered self-employed. The TE Office will determine whether your self-employment is considered full-time or part-time.

You are not entitled to unemployment benefits if you are fully employed as an entrepreneur or through self-employment. Your employment is considered full-time if the amount of work required by your business activities or your personal work input is so substantial that you cannot take on a full-time job. Only the amount of work required by the activities is crucial for determining whether you are seen as a full-time entrepreneur; the amount of income or profit obtained from the business or personal work input is insignificant.

If you are a part-time entrepreneur, the benefactor takes into account the income received from your business activities and adjusts the unemployment benefits accordingly.

Short-term employment as an entrepreneur and through self-employment

If you find employment under a commission contract with the maximum duration of two weeks, you will in principle retain your right to receive unemployment benefits. The unemployment benefit is adjusted based on the income you receive from the business activities.

Starting business activities during unemployment

If you begin business activities during your unemployment, the assessment for whether you are a full-time or part-time entrepreneur will not take place within the first four months since you have launched your business. As an unemployed jobseeker, you will be granted unemployment benefits during this time. If you receive income for your business activities during the four-month period, you will be paid an adjusted unemployment benefit. For more information, contact the payers of unemployment benefits:

Kela (
Unemployment funds (

The assessment for whether you are a full-time or part-time entrepreneur will take place after the first four months since the start of your business activities as is the case at present. If the business activities are considered full-time, you will lose your entitlement to unemployment benefits. If the business activities are part-time, you may continue to receive unemployment benefits. This solution is only concerned with the time after the four-month period and has no retroactive effects. The assessment utilises information about the true workload of your business activities within the first four months. If no other evidence is available of the extent of work required by your business, the decision may be based on your personal report of the workload.

If you receive unemployment benefits during your business activities, you must seek full time employment. In this case, your business is not a valid reason for, for instance, refusing a job offer or services promoting employment. Refusing a job offer or a service promoting employment may result in an unpaid time period or imposing an obligation to work.

The four-month period applies to the recipients of both unemployment allowance as well as labour market subsidy. In case of new business activities, the four-month period may resume if:

  • you have fulfilled the condition regarding previous employment, which is the prerequisite for the unemployment allowance, and
  • maximum time for the unemployment allowance resumes.

You may not receive unemployment benefits for the same business activities or a second time.

Termination of business

When you terminate your business activities or your self-employment, the TE Office will investigate whether you meet the conditions for receiving unemployment benefits.

Full-time employment in a business may end with the termination of the company or, in some situations, once a person stops working for a company. A private trader may be entitled to an unemployment benefit after the end of commissioned work, for instance.

A family member of the entrepreneur may be granted unemployment benefits in certain situations after he or she has stopped working for the company.

The full-time employment of a self-employed person can be considered to have ended when the TE office has been reliably informed by the jobseeker that the activities no longer continue.