What is YEL income?
The confirmed income under YEL is an estimate of the monetary value of a self-employed person’s work input. Your YEL income must equal the annual salary that you would have to pay to an employee with the same professional skills as you have for carrying out the same work. A self-employed person’s pension accrual and other social security benefits are calculated based on the income confirmed under the YEL insurance. It is the basis for the self-employed person’s sickness allowance, parental allowance and unemployment allowance, for example. It also determines your YEL insurance contribution.
You need YEL insurance if the value of your work input as an entrepreneur exceeds the lower limit for YEL income. The minimum YEL income is €8,261.71 and the upper limit is €187,625 in 2022. When your YEL income is at least €13,573 per year (2022), you can join the unemployment fund for entrepreneurs.
How is YEL income determined?
You give us your own estimate of the value of your work input, i.e. your YEL income, on the YEL insurance application. The Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK) has compiled a guide for the self-employed with sector-specific guidelines concerning YEL income. On your application, we will confirm your YEL income on a case-by-case basis, taking into account your own estimate and the YEL income indicated in ETK’s guide. In addition, we will take into account your working hours, your company’s turnover and the possible seasonal nature of your self-employment. A self-employed person’s YEL income does not mean the profit your company makes or the salary you pay yourself.
We will confirm your YEL income so that it reflects the value of your work input in order to ensure that your pension accrual and social security are based on a realistic earnings level for your sector. So if you fall ill, for example, you will be paid sickness allowance in line with your earnings.
The YEL income amounts indicated in ETK’s guide are especially meant for entrepreneurs with well-established activities. A newly self-employed person’s YEL income may be lower than the amount indicated in the guide, if there are fewer customers or less work in the beginning. The so-called minimum YEL income (€8,261.71 at the 2022 level) is only meant to be a part-time entrepreneur’s YEL income, however. Apply for a change in your YEL income when, for example, after starting your business, your clientele is well-established and your turnover has increased or when you switch from part-time to full-time self-employment. You can apply for a change in your YEL income as often as you need to, but not retroactively.
YEL income is always estimated at the annual level. This does not mean the calendar year from January to December, but rather a 12-month period. If your work input, turnover or working hours change, you must apply for a change in your YEL income partway through the year. Remember that the YEL income can be changed with effect from the date on which the application was made at the earliest, in other words, YEL income cannot be changed retroactively.
An entrepreneur’s YEL insurance is in force from 1 April to 31 December. EUR 24,000 has been confirmed as the entrepreneur’s YEL income. The entrepreneur’s insurance contributions and pension accrual are calculated based on the annual YEL income, however, only for the period when the insurance is valid, which, in this case, is nine months, from April to December.