You can apply for an earnings-related allowance if you satisfy the employment requirement while being a member of an unemployment fund.
‘Employment requirement’ means that you must have worked for a period of 26 calendar weeks. Every week during which you worked at least 18 hours counts towards the employment requirement. You must have been paid for the work in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement. If there is no collective bargaining agreement in your industry, you must have been paid at least EUR 1,331 per month for full-time work in 2023 (EUR 1,399 per month for full-time work in 2024). Periods that you spend on paid annual leave or paid sick leave also count towards the employment requirement.
Periods for which you received partial sickness benefits or reduced sick pay do not count towards the employment requirement.
In most cases, only weeks during which you worked at least 18 hours count towards the employment requirement. There are, however, exceptions, such as in the case of teaching staff, athletes and artists. These exceptions are provided for in a Government Decree (1330/2002)
You can satisfy the employment requirement by working several isolated periods, as long as all these take place within the review period. All periods of employment can be counted towards the employment requirement only once.
Changes to the employment requirement from September 2, 2024
The employment requirement will extend from 26 weeks (approximately 6 months) to 12 months as of 2 September 2024. The change means that 12 months of work are required to fulfil the employment requirement. Until 1 September 2024, an earnings-related unemployment allowance can be received after 26 calendar weeks, or approximately six months, of employment.
In addition as of 2 September 2024, the employment requirement will accrue based on earnings rather than working hours. A calendar month can count towards the employment requirement if the employee earns at least €930 gross in that month.
The employment requirement could also be accrued as half-months if the earned income in the calendar month is at least €465 but less than €930.
‘Review period’ means the 28 months immediately preceding the date on which you signed up as an unemployed job-seeker with the TE Office. The review period is the period during which you must satisfy the employment requirement.
In some circumstances, the review period can be extended by up to seven years. Examples of acceptable reasons for extending the review period include
- periods for which you received partial sickness benefits or reduced sick pay
- partial disability pension or part-time pension if you were working less than 18 hours a week
- military service and alternative service
- birth of a child and care or foster care of a child under the age of 3
- care of a family member or relative
- subsidised work that does not count towards the employment requirement
- scholarship for scientific or artistic work
- services that promote employment
- full-time education
- alternation leave and
Extensions longer than seven years are also possible in the case of a partial disability pension and part-time pension.
Persons aged 60 years and above
If you are aged 60 or above and subject to the employment obligation, periods during which you were enrolled in services that promote employment on the basis of the employment obligation can be taken into account in the calculation of the employment requirement.
If you have worked on subsidised pay, 75% of that work can be taken into account in the calculation of the employment requirement. In order to satisfy the 26-week employment requirement, you therefore need to have worked on subsidised pay for at least 35 weeks.
If you were provided subsidised work on the basis of the obligation to employ elderly people, 100% of your subsidised work counts towards the employment requirement.
Absences from the labour market
If you leave the labour market for a period of more than six months without an acceptable reason, you will be deemed to no longer satisfy the employment requirement. You will need to resatisfy the employment requirement to qualify for an earnings-related allowance.
In addition to working and running a business, you are also deemed to be ‘in the labour market’ if you are
- registered as an unemployed job-seeker with the TE Office
- a full-time student
- on maternity, paternity, pregnancy or parental leave
- at home caring for a child up to 3 years old
- off sick or in rehabilitation
- on alternation leave or
- enrolled in a service that promotes employment
Make sure not to be absent from the labour market for more than six months if your employer gives you financial compensation when they terminate your employment (e.g. a severance package).
Employment requirement of family members of an entrepreneur
Following a legislative amendment that entered into force on 1 July 2019, working for a business owned by your family member now also counts towards the employment requirement. You will satisfy the employment requirement if you work for at least 52 calendar weeks during the 28-month review period for a business owned by a member of your family. To satisfy the employment requirement, you must not have any ownership in or control over the business yourself, and you must not have an obligation to make contributions to a self-employed person’s pension or a farmer’s pension.
The employment requirement of 52 calendar weeks of work for your family member’s business and the employment requirement of 26 calendar weeks of employment cannot be combined. If you satisfy both employment requirements, you will need to choose yourself which one to use as the basis for your earnings-related allowance.
The amendment applies to work performed while being a member of a wage-earners’ unemployment fund after the entry into force of the new provisions. You must also have been a member of a wage-earners’ unemployment fund for a period of at least 12 months.