During a study leave based on the Study Leave Act (273/1979), an employee is released from the obligation to work for the duration of training or studying. Study leave is unsalaried, unless otherwise agreed with the employer. The unemployment fund does not pay a benefit for the duration of a study leave.
The right to job alternation leave is based on the Act on Job Alternation Leave (1305/2002). An employee can spend the job alternation leave in the way they choose, so e.g. studying is possible during job alternation leave. The unemployment fund pays alternation compensation for the duration of job alternation leave if the conditions are fulfilled.
Study leave is governed by the Study Leave Act. An employee who has been at the service of the same employer at least three months is entitled to a total of five days of study leave. When the employee’s full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year, the employee is entitled to a longer study leave. An employee working over five years for the same employer can take up to two years of study leave.
Study leave is applied for from the employer and it may be granted for studies in a programme subject to public supervision, as well as for trade union studies, as separately agreed in a general collective agreement or a civil servants’ collective agreement. The employer shall be entitled to postpone the date on which the study leave is to begin, if the grant of study leave would involve manifest inconvenience for the employer's business. The study leave can be postponed for a maximum of six months.
No salary shall be paid for the duration of a study leave. During a study leave the employee may be entitled to adult education allowance, vocational qualification grant, general housing allowance or study loan. Adult education allowance can be granted to a person in full-time employment who has been in working life for at least eight years and whose employment relationship with the same employer has lasted, in one or more periods, at least for one year. A vocational qualification grant can be granted to a person who has completed a vocational basic qualification, vocational qualification or vocational special qualification. The person shall be under 64 years old when completing the qualification, and a person with pension insurance shall have been at work for at least five years. Furthermore, in case of qualifications completed on 1 January 2017 or thereafter, the person shall be covered by Finnish social security both on the day of completion of the qualification and the time of applying for the grant. Allowance and grant can be applied for from the Education Fund.
After the study leave the employment will continue normally. The employee is entitled to interrupt the study leave and return to work, if the study leave has been granted for longer than 50 days. The employer shall be informed about the interruption of the study leave at least four weeks before returning to work. The employer is not obliged to take back the employee who has interrupted their study leave, if the employer has hired a substitute for the duration of the study leave. In that case the employee will return to work when the substitute’s employment contract has ended.
Employees can agree with the employer on taking alternation leave. The duration of alternation leave is a minimum of 100 calendar days and a maximum of 180 calendar days. Alternation leave can also be agreed on to be taken in several periods.
The condition for alternation leave is that an unemployed job-seeker who has been unemployed, continuously or in periods, for at least 90 calendar days before the employment is hired as a substitute for the person taking the alternation leave. The duration of the unemployment shall be calculated from the 14 months preceding the beginning of the alternation leave.
The condition on unemployment does not apply to under 30-year-old unemployed persons who have completed a vocational or university degree no more than a year ago. One day of unemployment is also enough, if the substitute is under 25 or over 55 years old at the beginning of the alternation leave.
Before the beginning of the alternation leave, the employee shall have been working in accordance with the employment pension act for a minimum of 20 years. A person who has previously received alternation allowance shall be at work at least five years from the end of the previous alternation leave.