What is a mandatory waiting period?

Waiting period means that the jobseeker temporarily loses the unemployment benefit if they have acted in an improper manner in terms of labour policy. In legislation, the waiting period is referred to as an unpaid time period. The length of the waiting period varies from 15 to 90 days depending on its grounds. On this page, you can find information about the most common grounds for imposing a waiting period.

Note that the mandatory waiting period is different from the 5-day waiting period. The 5-day waiting period refers to the first five days of unemployment for which the payer (Kela or the unemployment fund) does not pay the daily allowance.

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The most common reasons for the waiting period are:

Resignation

Refusal to work

Interview and employment plan or equivalent plan

Refusal or discontinuation of participation in services

Repeated improper actions in terms of labour policy and obligation to work

Resignation

  • If you resign without a valid reason, the unpaid waiting period is 90 days from the end of the employment relationship.
  • If you cause the termination of work by your own improper actions, the waiting period is 60 days.
  • If the work would have lasted five days or less, the waiting period is 30 days.

Valid reasons for resignation:

  • If the duration of the daily commute exceeds an average of three hours for full-time work and two hours for part-time work, you can resign within three months of the start of the employment relationship.
  • Moving to another municipality where your spouse has permanent work or business activities that provide for their livelihood within a week of the resignation if the length of the daily commute would exceed, on average, three hours  for full-time work and two hours for part-time work.
  • Changed place of work during the employment relationship if the daily commute to the new place of work exceeds on average three hours for full-time work and two hours for part-time work.
  • Grounds detailed in the Employment Contracts Act such as neglecting to pay and endangering occupational safety would also be considered valid reasons for resignation. However, you should first try to resolve possible conflicts through a trade union or occupational safety and health authorities.

Refusal to work

The TE Office offers you work by sending you job offers. Employers can also directly offer you work. Refusing work may result in a temporary loss of unemployment benefits.

If your own actions cause an employment relationship to not start, this is considered a refusal to work. The regulations of the Unemployment Security Act concerning refusal to work are only applied to work in an employment or public service relationship.

The mandatory waiting period for a refusal to work begins 30 days after the refusal. It is possible to avoid the loss of benefits if you can find a new job before the start of the unpaid waiting period.

  • If you refuse work for which you have been chosen without a valid reason or if the employment contract fails due to your own actions, the mandatory waiting period is 90 days.
  • If you refuse the work offered to you by the TE Office or another party, the waiting period is 60 days.
  • If the work you refused would have lasted two weeks or less, the waiting period is 30 days.

Valid reasons for refusing the job offered:

  • Part-time work in which your earnings would be less than your unemployment benefit when you are completely unemployed: When the salary paid for the work and the adjusted unemployment benefit are added up and the costs of the employment relationship are deducted from the sum.
  • Work performed as an entrepreneur.
  • Work in which your daily commute would take an average of 3 hours for full-time work or 2 hours for part-time work. When considering time spent commuting, public transport, the use of a bicycle or the employee’s own car and the possibility of walking to the place of work are considered. You are not required to purchase your own car.
  • Professionally suitable work: During the first three months of unemployment, you can refuse work that does not correspond to your professional skills acquired through education or work experience.
  • You have not been given a reasonable time to organise childcare and to overcome commute-related or other similar issues.
  • Work is against your religious beliefs or conscience.
  • Work requires tasks that appear to be obscene or against good practice.
  • Work involves an obvious threat of violence.
  • Harassment or other inappropriate treatment causing harm or danger to the employee's health occurs in the work.

Interview and employment plan or equivalent plan

Unemployed jobseekers are always interviewed if the period of unemployment has lasted for three consecutive months. During the interview, an employment plan or an equivalent activation and integration plan will be prepared for you or an existing plan will be updated.

  • If you do not arrive for the interview or you are not available to contact as agreed, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits for a minimum of 15 days.
  • If you refuse to participate in an interview or prepare or update your employment plan or you otherwise cause the cancellation of the interview or the plan, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits for a minimum of 30 days.
  • In both cases, your right to the benefits will be restored only after the plan has been prepared or if you have requested for the plan to be prepared if it cannot be prepared immediately for reasons arising from the TE Office.

Always notify the TE Office of an obstacle in advance. If the obstacle is an illness, an accident, or other reason beyond your control, you will not be put under the mandatory waiting period.

An unemployed jobseeker is obliged to follow the plan and notify the TE Office of their actions as agreed.

  • If you do not follow the plan as agreed, you may be subject to a mandatory 60-day waiting period or your unemployment benefits may be refused for the time being.

Refusal or discontinuation of participation in services

If your own actions prevent the provision of services that promote employment, you will be deemed to have refused the service.

  • If you refuse a work or training trial or other service promoting employment without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits for 60 days. The service may not have been agreed upon in your employment plan or the equivalent plan.
  • If you interrupt or resign from the service without a valid reason, you will lose your right to unemployment benefits for 60 days. If your actions cause you to not be selected for education or training, this is considered a refusal.
  • If you do not participate in the initial assessment or integration training during the integration period (including independent studies supported by an unemployment benefit), you will lose your right to unemployment benefits for 60 days.

Valid reasons for refusing the service:

  • The service is not suitable for you considering your state of health or your ability to work and function.
  • The daily commute to the place where the service is provided exceeds an average of three hours.
  • The service provider essentially neglects their responsibility to guarantee the occupational safety of the party participating or neglects to follow the legislation related to the service or conditions of the service contract.
  • The service differs significantly from what has been agreed upon in the employment plan or the equivalent plan.
  • You are allowed to refuse or discontinue labour market training if the work on the sector is not suitable for you considering your state of health and work ability, or the income of your dependants and you is not reasonably secured during the training. A reasonable income is your right to benefits equivalent to unemployment benefits.

Repeated improper actions in terms of labour policy

Improper actions in terms of labour policy refer to a situation in which you e.g. refuse work or education. If, in a six-month period, you repeatedly commit improper actions in terms of labour policy without a valid reason, you will be obliged to work.

The obligation to work means that your right to unemployment benefits will only be restored after a minimum of 12 calendar weeks after you have been:

  • in work included in the employment condition,
  • in labour market training,
  • in services promoting employment, including job-seeking or career coaching, work or training trials and rehabilitative work activities,
  • a full-time student or
  • a full-time entrepreneur or employed by your own work.

If you have any questions, please contact the Unemployment security advice telephone service

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