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Helsinki benefit for employers

The Helsinki benefit is the City of Helsinki’s discretionary support for a private or third-sector employer that hires an unemployed Helsinki resident. Its purpose is to promote the employment of unemployed Helsinki residents. The Helsinki benefit comes in three different subsidy forms: the Helsinki benefit for salaries, the Helsinki benefit for employment and the Helsinki benefit for a commission.

How applying for the Helsinki benefit goes

  • If the employer is also applying for a pay subsidy, they must do so before applying for the Helsinki benefit and attach the pay subsidy decision to their Helsinki benefit application.
  • If the employer makes an apprenticeship agreement, they must do so before applying for the Helsinki benefit and attach the apprenticeship document to their Helsinki benefit application.
  • Once an employment agreement has been signed, the employer will apply for the Helsinki benefit and attach the employment agreement to their Helsinki benefit application.
  • The discretionary support is granted if the application meets the conditions.
  • The City pays the Helsinki benefit to the employer.
  • The employer pays the hired person’s salary.

When is the Helsinki benefit applied for?

You can apply for the Helsinki benefit within the calendar year in which the employment of your new recruit begins. However, the Helsinki benefit may only be requested for a period of 12 months at the maximum. For a pay-subsidised apprenticeship, the Helsinki benefit can be applied for the entire apprenticeship period. The support is applied for in 12-month periods.

Who can I employ with the Helsinki benefit?

If you are about to employ an unemployed Helsinki resident who belongs to one of these groups:

  • an unemployed person who has been unemployed for at least 12 months
  • an unemployed person who has received a labour market subsidy due to unemployment for at least 200 days
  • an unemployed person who has been granted a pay subsidy for an apprenticeship or due to a permanent injury or illness that affects their work performance
  • an unemployed person to whom the City of Helsinki Employment Services have granted a Helsinki benefit voucher based on an assessment.

Alternative forms of support

For whom: all private and third-sector employers
For what: hiring costs
Amount: €800/month at the maximum. The amount is affected by the employer’s hiring costs and other forms of support paid for them; a pay subsidy and training compensation.
Duration: 12 months at the maximum, or for the entire duration of an apprenticeship.
Receiving the support requires that a pay subsidy has been granted for the employment.

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For whom: businesses and communities running commercial operations
For what: costs arising from hiring the person, other than salary costs, such as facility, equipment, workwear, orientation and guidance costs when no other form of support is being paid for these
Amount: €500/month
Duration: 12 months at the maximum
The support can also be granted without a pay subsidy granted for the employment.

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For whom: businesses and communities running commercial operations
For what: a one-time completion of a job or project. The commission may be performed through a co-operative, company or a ‘light entrepreneurship’ solution.
Amount: a maximum of 50% of the total commission sum, yet no more than €1,500
Duration: the employer can apply for the Helsinki benefit for a commission for no more than two commissions per year, and the commission agreement must take matters related to unemployment benefits and employer obligations into account.

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Conditions

The conditions of the Helsinki benefit apply to applications received by the City Executive Office from 1 January 2020 onwards. The decision-making process adheres to the decision by the Economic Development Sub-committee of the City Board, 3 February 2020, Section 4 and the general guidelines on grants provided by the City (in Finnish). The Helsinki benefit is always discretionary.

The employer must have appropriately arranged facilities and a supervisor for whom a pay subsidy is not being claimed to manage the hired person. The subsidy must not lead to the employer terminating the employment of or laying off other employees. The Helsinki benefit can be granted if the employer has provided work in accordance with the Employment Contracts Act to employees whose employment has been terminated or who have been laid off for financial or production-related reasons, or when there is no re-employment obligation.

The employer must not have incurred significant non-payments of tax or statutory payments. Additionally, employers running commercial operations must not be operating a company in difficulty as set out in the General Block Exemption Regulation, and the employer must not be the subject of an unpaid recovery order based on a European Commission decision.

The Helsinki benefit granted to business operators is always a de minimis grant. The employer must present a summary of the de minimis grants received during the current tax year and two previous tax years.

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The Helsinki benefit can be applied for fixed-term or permanent employment. The required minimum duration of a fixed-term employment relationship is one (1) month. The employment relationship supported with the Helsinki benefit must fulfil the requirements for working hours and salaries that entitle the employee to unemployment allowance (Unemployment Security Act 1290/2002, Section 5:4). The hired person’s working hours must be at least 18 hours a week (at least 25 hours a week in an apprenticeship). The salary paid for the work must correspond with the applicable collective agreement. If there is no binding collective agreement in the industry in question, the salary must be at a level regarded as normal and reasonable and based on factors other than just the results of the work.

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The Helsinki benefit is paid to the employer after the office holders’ decision in one instalment. The employer will commit to using the Helsinki benefit for the purposes stated in the decision.

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Upon request, the employer must submit documents related to the employment relationship and processing to the city to monitor the use of the Helsinki benefit. The use of the benefit is also monitored with spot checks. A Helsinki benefit granted on the basis of incorrect information or used contrary to its intended purpose may be recovered from the applicant. The Helsinki benefit can also be recovered if the employer does not provide the requested information.

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If the hired person fails to start working, resigns or is dismissed, immediately notify the granting authority by e-mail at helsinkilisa@hel.fi. The Helsinki benefit can be recovered for the time exceeding the duration of the employment relationship.

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Contact information

Advice for and processing of Helsinki benefit applications: helsinkilisa@hel.fi.

Mirkka Kesti-Helia, tel. +358 (0) 40 198 5891
Sonja Vuorela, tel. +358 (0) 40 183 3021