How long can I receive benefits?

You are eligible for benefits for 2 years that you must use within a period of 3 years. We pay out benefits on an hourly basis. 2 years correspond to 3,848 hours.

Please note that you can extend your benefit period and earn a new benefit period by working.

If you become unemployed again, you can use the remaining hours with benefits you have left from your original 2-year benefit period.

If you have worked at least 1,924 hours (1 year full-time) since you were last unemployed, you will automatically get a new 2-year period with benefits.

If you have not worked for 1,924 hours, the hours can instead be used to extend the 2-year period by up to 1 year. Each hour worked will entitle you to 2 hours of benefits. If you have worked e.g. 100 hours since you were last unemployed, you can receive benefits for 200 hours on top of the hours you have left from when you were last unemployed.

We will write to you when your benefits are about to expire so that you can decide whether to exercise the right to extend your benefit period.

Please note that if you have received benefits for a total of 4 years within the past 8 years, your period with benefits will be reduced by 1 month. We will write to you if you are about to face such a situation.

You can earn a new 2-year period with benefits if you have had a certain number of hours of work as a salary earner, freelancer or as self-employed since you last received benefits.

Keep track of how many hours you have accrued by checking your benefit status tracker on jobnet.

If you have been a salary earner, you must have reported at least 1,924 hours of paid work in the past 3 years (which corresponds to 1 year of full-time employment) and 1,258 hours of paid work as part-time insured.

Income from work as self-employed or freelancer is comparable to hours of paid work through translation into hours. Your income is converted into hours using a conversion factor of 128.33. Income from activity as self-employed is evenly distributed over the financial year. You cannot include more than 160.33 hours per month for full-time insured and 130 hours for part-time insured.

It is only unsubsidised paid work which can be included for the purpose of earning a new benefit period. That means that wage subsidies, company internships, senior jobs or job rotation programmes will not count towards the total number of hours.

If you start working and become unemployed without having earned the right to a new 2-year benefit period, you will continue to use the hours of benefit rights you have left from your first accrual period.

If your benefits end, and you have not had 1,924 / 1,258 hours of work, you have the right to extend your period with benefits by up to 12 months.

If you use your benefits before you have earned a new 2-year period, you can extend your benefit period by the hours of work you have had since you last had the right to a period with benefits.

Keep track of how many hours you have accrued by checking your benefit status tracker on jobnet.

If you have had work as a salary earner while unemployed, you can exchange the hours of work for benefits at a ratio of 1:2.

Your benefit entitlement will thus be extended by 2 hours for each hour of work you have had while unemployed. The period for which you can use the hours (we call it your ‘reference period’) is extended at a ratio of 1:3 + 1 month.

Example

If you have had a total of 300 hours of work, you can choose to extend your right to benefits by 600 hours that you must use within a period of 900 hours + 160.33 hours (=6 + 1 months).

You decide

You decide whether to extend your benefit period – and how many of the hours you have saved you want to exchange for more benefits – or whether you want to save hours for a new benefit period. You can extend your benefits by no more than 1,924 hours (equivalent to 12 months) which must be used within 18 months.

You cannot use the hours twice

NOTE: It is very important that you know that you cannot use the same hours of work by which you have extended your benefit period to earn a new 2-year period.

In other words, you need to choose whether you want to use the hours of work to get a longer benefit period, or whether you want to save the hours of work and use them to earn an entirely new 2-year benefit period.

We will write to you when your benefits are about to end and inform you of the number of hours of work by which you can extend your benefit period.

No right to a senior job until after the extension

If you pay into the early retirement scheme and you lose your benefits less than 5 years before your early retirement age, you’re entitled to a senior job.  However, you are not entitled to the senior job until you have used any right you may have to an extended benefit period.

If you have received benefits for a total of4 years within the past 8 years, your benefit period will be reduced by 1 month.

Example

If you become unemployed on 1 July 2020, you will generally have the right to benefits for 2 years (3,848 hours). If you have been unemployed before and have received at least 4 years of benefits in total since 1 July 2012, you will instead have the right to benefits for 1 year and 11 months.