Time off from work

Updated 19.11.2021

Family leave
If you take time off from work to care for a child less than 3 years of age, you are on family leave. You and your family will receive support during a family leave, which means that you will receive an allowance from Kela. Collective agreements in many sectors include terms stating that the employer pays for a certain part of a parental leave, such as 3 months. If you receive pay during your family leave, Kela will pay the allowance to your employer.
Notify your employer of a parental or child care leave at least two months before your planned start date.
The allowance from Kela must be separately applied for. You can fill in the application in Kela’s e-service or at a Kela office.
For more information on family leave and support for families with children, read SAK’s family leave guide (only in Finnish) or visit Kela’s website.
Pregnancy leave
Mothers have the right to a maternity leave that lasts 105 working days (approximately 4 months). The leave starts 30–50 working days (approximately 5–8 weeks) before the estimated due time. Maternity allowance is Pregnancy leave is 40 working days and starts 30 working days before the estimated date of delivery. After your child is born, you can start your parental leave.
If you are pregnant and may come into contact with a chemical substance, radiation or a transmitted disease in your work that may pose a risk to the development of the foetus or the pregnancy, these hazards must be removed or you must be transferred to other safer duties. If suitable duties cannot be arranged, you may be entitled to leave work and receive special maternity allowance.
Paternity leave
Paternity leave: Fathers can take up to 54 working days of paternity leave (approximately 9 weeks). The father can stay at home at the same time with the mother for about 3 weeks. Fathers can use the rest of their paternity leave when parental leave ends. The father will receive paternity allowance for the duration of the paternity leave.
Parental leave
After the maternity leave, the mother or father can take parental leave. Parental leave is 158 working days Parental leave starts after the pregnancy leave. Each parent is entitled to 160 days of parental leave. In single-parent families, the parent is entitled to 320 days of leave.
Kela pays parental allowance for the duration of a parental leave. Parents can also work part-time and take care of their child in turns. Kela pays the father and mother the partial parental allowance for this period.
Child care leave
After parental leave, you can take a child care leave to care for your child at home. You can stay on a child care leave until your child turns 3 years of age.
Kela pays a child home care allowance for children under the age of 3. The caretaker can be one of the parents or someone else, such as a grandparent or a hired nanny. The child home care allowance cannot be received if the child is in municipality-organised day care.
Part-time child care leave
You can also work part-time and take the care of your child at home by taking a part-time child care leave. You will receive less pay, but Kela will pay you a flexible care allowance. Kela pays flexible care allowance for children under the age of 3.
You can receive a partial care allowanceif you work shorter days, i.e. work less, when your child starts school. Partial care allowance is paid for a child in grade 1 or 2.
If you are pregnant or on family leave, you must not be discriminated against.
For example, the employer cannot terminate your employer due to
After family leave, you have the right to return to the same duties as before. If this is not possible, the employer must provide you with work that corresponds to your previous work to the extent possible. If this is not possible, you must be offered other work in accordance with your employment contract.
Unpaid time off
If you want unpaid time off for reasons other than child care or studies, you should agree on the matter with your employer. Make the agreement in writing.
Making an agreement is always voluntary. The employer has the right to refuse to give any unpaid time off. And vice versa – the employer cannot force you to take unpaid time off.
Some types of unpaid time off must be granted, such as child care leave or study leave.
Annual holidays usually do not accumulate during unpaid time off. This means that the number of your holiday days does not usually increase. However, the Annual Holidays Act includes a list of situations where holidays are accumulated during unpaid time off. These include family leave, and part of a study leave or a sick leave. It also possible to agree on a different system for holiday accumulation in a collective agreement. Check your collective agreement.
Also check whether you will receive the experience-based supplement affecting your pay during unpaid time off.
Usually, fringe benefits, such as occupational healthcare, company phones or meal benefits, cannot be used during unpaid time off. However, these can be agreed on in a collective agreement or at a workplace, so check the matter beforehand.

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