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may be wondering which matters related to their situation are handled by the TE
Office and which need to be reported to the unemployment fund. The authorities
of the TE Office and unemployment funds are decreed by several different laws,
such as the Act on Unemployment Security and the Act on Public Employment and
Business Services. This article explains the duties of the TE Office and the
unemployment fund and which party is responsible for handling different
commonly occurring situations.

The Employment and Economic Development (TE)
Office reviews the labour policy requirements for granting unemployment

The TE
Office is tasked with implementing labour market policy through the various
services it provides. From the point of view of unemployment benefit
applicants, the TE Office’s most important task is to issue a labour policy
statement to the payer of the benefit (your own unemployment fund or Kela). As
the name implies, the labour policy statement concerns whether the jobseeker
meets the conditions for receiving unemployment benefits as decreed by labour
policy. The statement may be favourable or unfavourable and after issued by the
TE Office, it is binding on the unemployment fund.

In many
cases, the TE Office is able to issue the labour policy statement quickly
without further review. However, sometimes the applicant’s situation requires
that the TE Office carefully reviews the labour policy requirements for paying
unemployment benefits. One such requirement listed in the Act on Unemployment
Security is that the jobseeker is able to accept full-time work. For example,
if the person applying for unemployment benefits studies full-time, is
self-employed full-time or works full-time in their job, the applicant is not
considered to be able to accept full-time work.

The TE
Office also reviews situations in which a jobseeker may have acted
reprehensibly with respect to labour policy. Reprehensible conduct with respect
to labour policy includes actions that lead to the termination of employment
for a reason that is attributable to the applicant and not considered a valid
reason for termination. Refusing work and negligence related to job search and
employment services or similar conduct may also be reprehensible conduct with
respect to labour policy. If it is found that the applicant has acted
reprehensibly with respect to labour policy, the TE Office may set a mandatory
waiting period during which no benefits are paid or impose an obligation to

The unemployment fund pays the benefit

As the
payer of the benefit, the unemployment fund has different responsibilities than
the TE Office. The most important task of the unemployment fund is to provide
earnings-related unemployment benefits to its members in accordance with the
Act on Unemployment Security A condition for receiving earnings-related
unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund is that you have been a member
of the fund for at least 26 weeks. If the unemployed jobseeker is not a member
of an unemployment fund, the benefit is paid by Kela. The unemployment fund is
its own organisation and separate from the TE Office and the trade union. The
responsibilities of trade unions differ from those of an unemployment fund, and
the unemployment fund cannot give advice on matters that are within the scope
of the trade union’s duties.

To receive
earnings-related unemployment benefits, the jobseeker must submit an
application for earnings-related allowance to the unemployment fund after
registering with the TE Office as an unemployed jobseeker. When processing the
application, the fund reviews, among other things, whether the applicant’s
membership and employment condition are met, what is the pay on which the earnings-related
allowance is based, and whether the applicant is paid income that is taken into
account in the earnings-related allowance as adjustable income. In addition,
the unemployment fund reviews the labour policy statement issued by the TE
Office. The statement is binding on the fund’s decision on the application. If
the statement is unfavourable and the applicant wishes to appeal it, the appeal
must be lodged against the decision of the unemployment fund. The labour policy
statement itself cannot be appealed.

Why do I sometimes need to give the same
information to both the TE Office and the unemployment fund?

As said
above, the duties of the TE Office and the unemployment fund are different from
each other. In some cases, for example, a certain attachment file may be needed
by both the TE Office and the fund. Attachments sent to the TE Office do not
automatically appear in the unemployment fund’s digital system, so it is a good
idea to take copies of all important documents before sending them. The TE Office
and the unemployment fund may need the same attachment file for different
reasons. For example, a letter of reference from an employer may contain
information that is important for both issuing the labour policy statement and
monitoring the employment condition. If you are unsure to whom you need to
submit the information or attachment, contact the customer services of both the
TE Office and the unemployment fund.


Some of TE Offices’ customers to be transferred
municipalities as part of the municipal employment experiment

Government has decided to strengthen the role of municipalities in the
provision of employment services. So far, this has meant for unemployment
benefit applicants that some of the tasks normally assigned to TE Offices are
now the responsibility of the municipality. In other words, customers of the
municipal employment experiment deal with their own municipality in labour
policy matters that would normally be the responsibility of the TE Office.
However, the municipal experiment does not affect how you apply for
unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund or Kela.

As of 1
October 2021, the responsibility for issuing certain labour policy statements
that require review has been centralised to Uusimaa TE Office. This means that
Uusimaa TE Office also issues labour policy statements to customers of the
municipal experiment in situations that involve business activities and
self-employment, for example.