Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Finland - Support with caring for young children

After the parental leave period, families have three different socially-subsidised childcare alternatives until the child starts school: state day care, private day care allowance or child home care allowance.         

What support are families entitled to?

Parents have the right to a municipal day care place for their child. Children can go to municipal day care in the form of a day care centre or family day care.

If a child under the age of three does not attend municipal day care, the family can claim child home care allowance (kotihoidon tuki). A child can be cared for by either parent, a relative or another carer.

Private day care allowance (yksityisen hoidon tuki) can be claimed by a family whose under-school-age child is looked after by a nanny hired by the family or by a private day care provider.

If the mother or father provides care for a child under three years of age and works no more than 30 hours per week on average, they can claim flexible care allowance (joustava hoitoraha).

If you have children attending the first and second year of school and you work a maximum of 30 hours per week you can claim partial care allowance (osittainen hoitoraha).

When will I get the allowance?

Municipal day care

Every parent of a child below school age has the right to a municipal day care place for their child, regardless of how much money the parents have or whether or not they work. The municipality charges a fee for day care, based on the size and income of the family. Families on the lowest incomes are not charged any fee. Families have the right to free pre-school education for their children for a year before the child starts school.

Child home care allowance

The family can claim child home care allowance if they have a child under the age of three who is not attending municipal day care. If the family also has a child over the age of three, the family can also claim home care allowance for that child. Child home care allowance includes a care allowance and a care supplement. The family may also receive a municipal supplement, depending on the home municipality.

Private day care allowance

Private day care allowance can be claimed if a family's under-school-age child is looked after by a municipally approved private day care provider or private individual with whom the family have signed a contract of employment lasting at least a month, and who is not part of the same household as the child. The child can also be cared for by a relative, for example a grandparent, if the family draw up a contract of employment with the relative and pay them wages. Private day care allowance includes a care allowance and a care supplement, and depending on the home municipality, potentially also a municipal supplement.

Home care allowance and private day care allowance are child-specific. If a family has several children, the family can choose, separately for each child, home care allowance or private day care allowance, according to the child's age, the care location, or the carer. The family can, therefore, claim both home care allowance and private day care allowance for different children at the same time.

Flexible care allowance

Flexible care allowance is intended for the father, mother or other carer of a child under three years of age. Flexible care allowance is paid for one child at a time only. However, both parents can receive flexible care allowance if they organise their work so that they care for the child at different times, for example on different days of the week. To be eligible for the allowance, the applicant must work no more than 30 hours per week on average or no more than 80% of normal full-time hours. The parent must have an employment contract with a public- or private-sector employer, be self-employed and insured under the YEL (Self-Employed Persons') or MYEL (Farmers') Pensions Acts, or be a grant recipient and insured under the MYEL Act. Flexible care allowance cannot be paid to a parent who is paid special maternity, maternity, paternity or parental allowance; looks after the child personally and is paid home care allowance; or receives partial care allowance for a child in the family.

Partial care allowance

The family can claim partial care allowance if they have a child attending the first or second year of school. Partial care allowance can be paid until the end of a child's second year of school. If a child participates in extended compulsory education, partial care allowance can be paid until the end of the child's third year of basic education. The parent can work for a maximum of 30 hours a week. Partial care allowance is paid for one child at a time only, although a family may have more than one child who meets the criteria. Partial care allowance can be paid to both the mother and father, as long as the parents care for the child at different times. Partial care allowance cannot be paid if the parent receives home care allowance and cares for the child themselves, if the parent is receiving parental allowance at the same time, or if the parent is receiving flexible care allowance (the second parent can receive flexible care allowance for another child).

Allowance amounts and application

Please contact your municipality about access to municipal day care.

The care allowance element of home care allowance is the same for everybody, however the care supplement depends on the family's income. Other benefits received from Kela can also affect the amount of home care support received http://www.kela.fi/web/en/home-care-allowance-amount-and-payment.

Private day care allowance comprises a care allowance, which is always the same size, and a care supplement, which is dependent on the size and income of the family.

Flexible care allowance is payable at two rates depending on the parent's total working time. It is not affected by the family's income.

Partial care allowance is always a fixed amount. It is not affected by the family's income.

The care allowance amount and application forms for home care allowance, private care allowance, flexible care allowance, and partial care allowance can be found on Kela's website, http://www.kela.fi/web/en/after-parental-leave.

Some municipalities also pay a municipal supplement with the home care allowance or private care allowance.

Jargon busters

Extended compulsory education: attending school for longer than normal where the pupil has not been able to reach the targets set for comprehensive school education within nine years. More information The Finnish National Board of Education's website.

Compulsory education begins when the child turns seven years old and ends either when child has completed the basic education or after 10 years (i.e. at the end of the school year when the student turns 17).

Useful forms and links

Know your rights

More information about the rights guaranteed to you by law can be found via the links below. The websites are not maintained by the European Commission and they do not represent the Commission's views.

The Commission's publication and website:

Who should I contact?

For other financial support matters please contact your Kela´s customer services, http://www.kela.fi/web/en.

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