Job alternation leave

Job alternation leave provides

  • employees with an opportunity to strengthen their capacity to cope with work
  • unemployed job-seekers with a chance to gain work experience and to maintain and improve their labour market skills
  • employers with a chance to introduce more flexibility and new skills into the work community.

An employee's job alternation leave is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee. The employee can use the leave as he/she sees fit. During the job alternation leave, the employee’s employment relationship is dormant.

Prerequisites for job alternation leave

The employee planning to have a job alternation leave must

  • have a work history of at least 20 years and
  • must have worked for the same employer for an uninterrupted period of at least 13 months, which may include an unpaid absence of no more than 30 calendar days.

An upper age limit applies to persons born in 1957 or after that: The job alternation leave must start no later than in the calendar month when the employee in question reaches the age of 60.

The job alternation leave must last at least 100 and no more than 180 calendar days.


The employer must hire a substitute for the duration of the job alternation leave. The substitute must have been registered as an unemployed job-seeker in an Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office) for at least 90 calendar days during the 14 months preceding the job alternation leave.

The 90-day requirement does not apply if the unemployed job-seeker is

  • aged under 30 and has taken a vocational qualification or university degree shortly before being hired as a substitute
  • under 25 years or
  • over 55 years.

The employer does not need to employ the substitute in the duties of the person taking the job alternation leave.

Job alternation compensation

The employee taking the job alternation leave receives a job alternation compensation for the duration of the leave. The compensation amounts to 70% of the daily unemployment allowance and it is paid by an unemployment fund or Kela.

Management, steering and development of the labour-policy aspects of the job alternation leave scheme are the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Management, steering and development of the job alternation compensation are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Further information: Johanna Nyberg, johanna.nyberg(at)


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