Improved social security for grant recipients

14-11 2008


Persons whose incomes are augmented by grants will at the end of the year, have a greatly improved social security. Artists and researchers will in the future find that stipends and grants will be counted in calculations to determine pensions. They will also be able to procure accident insurance.

Grant recipients were for a long time the only group outside the pension system. From the first of the year, grant recipients will accrue pension funds in the same way as the rest of the working population.

Under LPA auspices

The rules governing pensions for grant recipients will become part of the regulation body governing pension receipts for independent farmers (LFÖPL) and at first sight might seem to have landed in rather strange company. The reason for this is that the regulations governing pension and accident insurance for grant recipients are almost identical to the corresponding regulations related to farmers. Both groups will pay a pension insurance fee that is about half of what business owners pay. Even if the name the name attached to this pension scheme would imply otherwise, grant recipients are not considered to be business owners.
The Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution (LPA) has for the past 40 years administrated the pensions and insurances of farmers and is well able to extend their services and apply them to grant recipients. The government has here found a model that is both effective and cost-effective, even if the name of the regulatory law and of the administrating entity might raise some eyebrows among artists and researches, at least in the beginning.

Fees and awards calculated on basis of income

A condition to being included in the pension scheme is that the period of work covered by the grant should be a minimum of four months and that the grant itself, when calculated in terms of a normal yearly salary, should be in excess of 3100 euros. The amount in the grant that is designated for materials and other similar costs is deducted from the total before the yearly  “salary” is determined.
If a researcher for example, has been granted a sum of 2500 euros for four months and 500 euros are designated to cover material costs, he or she will be included in pension and accident insurance scheme. The income from work, re-calculated in terms of a yearly salary (4 months x 3 = 1 year) becomes 6000 euros per year after material costs are deducted.

The pension insurance fee is 11% of the yearly income. The pension insurance automatically includes a group life insurance policy.

Daily allowance guarantees income security

The rules regulating accident insurance for grant recipients will be included in the law on insurance for farmers (OFLA). In addition to insurance for work related accidents, grant recipients will also be able to add a leisure time accident insurance.
Accident insurance covers medical expenses caused by accidents without any cost ceiling, and includes a daily living allowance. The cost of the insurance is less than one percent of the grant recipient’s yearly income from work.
In the event of illness (not accident related) the grant recipient will receive an LPA-daily allowance from the 5th to the 9th day of his/her illness. The FPA (Folk pension association) picks up payment of the daily sick allowance from the 10th day.
Several of the benefits paid out by the FPA, for example maternity and parental leave payments, payments during rehab etc. will now be calculated on the basis of the LFÖPL reported income.

Grant recipients must themselves apply to the LPA

To be included in the new social security laws, the grant recipient must him/herself make application to the LPA. Agencies awarding art and research grants will in the future, along with grant receipt notification, send information about how to sign up for the pension and insurance scheme. To the largest possible degree, application for social security and accident insurance, will be made to the LPA electronically. Applications will be accepted as soon as the new regulations begin to apply on the first of January, 2009.
If a research or working grant was given before 2009, it is not mandatory for the recipient to apply for insurance. Any applicant whose previous grant extends into 2009 and who otherwise fulfills the requirements for inclusion in the insurance scheme is welcome to apply. For grant recipients receiving grants after 1 January, 2009, inclusion in the social security and insurance program is mandatory.

Additional information is available at www.lpa.fi or 020 630 0500

Markku Pulkkinen
Director of information
Farmer’s Social Insurance Institution

7.10.2008