The unemployment allowance for freelancers

A freelancer can work under a work contract or as an independent professional.

If you have worked as a freelancer under a work contract and have become unemployed, you can receive an earnings-related unemployment allowance if you have been a member in an unemployment fund for a minimum of half a year prior to the unemployment. In addition, you must have been working under a work contract for a minimum of 26 calendar weeks over a 28-month period prior to the unemployment.

The salaried employment that meets the requirements of the earnings-related allowance must not have been continuous. The required working weeks can be collected as one week periods over the previously mentioned period of time (26 calendar weeks/ 28 months).

What is important is that you have worked under a work contract for a minimum of 18 hours per week. A freelancer can calculate the hours from various contracts up to 40 hours.

In addition to the abovementioned, the earnings from a full-time job must be a minimum of 1,173 euros per month (in 2016).  Unless a work contract includes preparation work or travel hours, they are not calculated as working time.

Entrepreneurs who have joined an unemployment fund for entrepreneurs are also entitled to an earnings-related unemployment allowance.

If you are a freelancer and work both as an employee and as an entrepreneur, you can only be considered for an earnings-related unemployment allowance based on your membership in either an employee fund or an entrepreneur fund. If you are a member of an entrepreneur fund, you can be considered for an earnings-related allowance based on the work you have done as an entrepreneur and if you are a member of an employee fund, you can be considered only for the earnings-related allowance based on the work you have done as an employee.

Both entrepreneur and employee unemployment funds have their own conditions that can be reviewed from the following links:


Earnings-related unemployment if working on a grant

The main principle is that those working on a grant cannot simultaneously receive an earnings-related unemployment allowance. A labour policy statement given by a TE office defines for how long the grant can be expected to last. For the statement, it is reviewed what has been written down on the grant decision about the grant period. If there is no indication of the period in the decision, you must yourself present a report to the authorities.

The required report may be proof of completing a project or a work plan that is attached to the grant application. You should draft your work plan carefully as an earnings-related unemployment allowance is not paid for as long as the planned work is considered to be in progress—even if the work is never completed.


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