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More and more of our members are in part-time employment and receive an accordingly adjusted allowance. It is therefore increasingly important to provide information on adjusted allowances. 

There are many beliefs, doubts and even misconceptions concerning adjusted allowances. We would like to highlight some claims that are commonly asserted in public and sometimes in our member services. One claim is related to the teaching profession, while the others are universally applicable to all the fields for which we provide insurance. 

1. If my pay exceeds the standard entitlement of the allowance, I will suffer a financial loss. 

”It doesn’t pay to earn more than the amount of the standard entitlement.” This is a common claim even in public discussion. In our view, it is untrue, and the following example shows why. 

If Veera were fully unemployed, she would receive an allowance of EUR 1,465 per month. She earns EUR 800 per month from her part-time work. Her salary affects her allowance insofar as it exceeds the standard entitlement of EUR 300; i.e. EUR 500 of her income affects her allowance. Half of this, EUR 250, is deducted from the allowance.

The adjusted allowance is calculated as follows: half of the salary in excess of the standard entitlement reduces the full unemployment allowance, i.e. (800 – 300) / 2 = 250. Consequently, the adjusted allowance is EUR 1,465 – 250 = EUR 1,215. 

The adjusted allowance is calculated on the basis of gross amounts. It is advisable to check your tax rates for both your salary and the adjusted allowance (by requesting a revised tax card for benefits). 

2. An adjusted allowance reduces the maximum payment period of my allowance. I want to save my allowance days as security in case my employment ends. I don’t want to waste any allowance days. 

The adjusted allowance does reduce the maximum payment period of your allowance; in this respect, the claim is correct. However, the days add up slower than if you were fully unemployed. This can be exemplified as follows: 

Leena is receiving an adjusted allowance of EUR 500 per month. If she were fully unemployed, her full daily allowance would be EUR 50. In this case, only 10 days per month count towards the maximum payment period (500 / 50). 

Furthermore, any weeks of employment after the start of the allowance period count towards the re-fulfilment of the employment condition. The entitlement to an allowance is not a one-time entitlement during your employment career. This is another reason why you should not hesitate to apply for an adjusted allowance out of fear that it reduces your allowance days. 

3. I would rather wait to apply for an allowance until I am fully unemployed, because I do not want my part-time salary to affect the size of my allowance. 

This view is based on the belief that the duration of part-time work has no impact on the amount of the allowance, and only the income from full-time employment is taken into account in calculating the amount of the allowance when your employment ends completely. 

This is not the case. 

The main rule is that the amount of the allowance is calculated on the basis of the income immediately preceding the allowance application, on condition that the employment weeks fulfil the employment condition. If the last 26 calendar weeks prior to applying for the benefit were part-time working weeks, the allowance is calculated solely on the basis of the salary from the part-time work. Or, if the last 20 weeks were part-time work and, prior to that, you were in full-time employment, only six weeks of the full-time salary can be taken into account, while 20 weeks of the part-time salary is taken into account, and so forth. 

4. Applying for an adjusted allowance is complicated. 

Applying for an adjusted allowance is different from applying for the allowance for full unemployment. This is because you must report your working hours and income in the application, and they affect the amount of the allowance. Whether this feels complicated is a matter of personal experience. 

We recommend that you apply for allowances via our Openetti service, which also supports applications for an adjusted allowance. Openetti is also convenient for delivering pay details. You can use the service to quickly send us attachments, either together with the application or separately, using the “Attachment files without applications” function. 

We would be happy to hear your suggestions on how to improve Openetti for the benefit of our members, including for applications for an adjusted allowance. 

5. I’m a full-time hourly teacher and not entitled to an adjusted allowance. 

This last belief applies to our members in teaching positions and is a dangerous one from the perspective of their rights. It is based on the idea that a full-time hourly teacher is in full-time employment. This is not necessarily the case. In any case, your entitlement to an allowance is never decided on the basis of your job title. Even a full-time hourly teacher can apply for, and be granted, an adjusted allowance. 

Your entitlement to an allowance is decided on the basis of your actual working hours during the allowance application period (this is often one month for our members, in accordance with their salary payment period). If the average working hours per week over a period of one month amount to no more than 80% of the full 100% working hours of the position, you may be entitled to an adjusted allowance, even if your job title is full-time hourly teacher. 

We are also often asked about zero-hour employment contracts and contracts that define the working hours as 16–38 per week. You are entitled to claim an adjusted allowance even if working under such a contract. If your working hours vary, we recommend that you submit an allowance application so that the fund can determine whether you are entitled to an adjusted allowance. There is nothing wrong in applying for an allowance, even if we are forced to decide that you are not entitled to one because of your working hours. 

We consider these the five most dangerous misconceptions regarding adjusted allowances that we have come across in our work. What do you think, have we missed something that you’ve wondered about yourself?

Marjaana Maisonlahti
Fund Manager

You can find more information on adjusted allowances and applying for them on our website under the section “Working part-time?”.