Starting a Business in Finland
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Why Start A Business In Finland?
When it comes to competitiveness and innovation, Finland is one of the leading countries in the world for anyone wanting start a business. Its exports in technology and other high-tech sectors are remarkable considering the countries size. The support in research and development, in regards to GDP and active personnel, is one of the best in the world. Altogether, setting up a business in Finland remains an attractive proposition.
What is the population?
The population of Finland is 5.43 million.
What are the essentials to know?
There is no universal legal minimum wage in Finland, though most employees are covered by agreements which specify the minimum pay rates for a variety of sectors. These are legally binding minimum wage rates, and must be applied to both Finnish and foreign workers.
Everyone who lives in Finland pays tax to the state and their local authority. Municipal tax is a fixed rate, depending on which municipality, as rates tend to vary. State tax is income-assessed. Employers also pay employment pension and unemployment insurance contributions, these are immediately deducted from the salary each month.
Many businesses start off in rented property. Once the business expands, buying commercial property is an option.
You must consider whether a business premises is suitable for your requirements and if you will need to make any changes, as any alterations made will normally require a business licence granted by the local building authorities.
Social security cover for Entrepreneurs
The Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL) requires entrepreneurs to take out pension insurance. Entrepreneurs are not covered by accident insurance; therefore it is advisable for them to take out a voluntary accident insurance policy. Furthermore, entrepreneurs do not have a contractual group insurance policy. They are solely responsible for arranging voluntary life insurance cover for themselves. If they become unemployed for whatever reason, entrepreneurs may qualify for a basic allowance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela); they may also voluntarily join the Entrepreneurs' Unemployment Fund for earnings-related unemployment benefits.
Entrepreneurs may also receive a maternity allowance, paternity allowance, parental allowance, special care allowance or rehabilitation allowance and sickness allowance.
Occupational Health Care for Entrepreneurs
Under the Occupational Health Act, employers must arrange professional-level occupational health services for their employees. Entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed can make voluntary arrangements to obtain occupational health services.
However, entrepreneurs are entitled to compensation from Kela for the expenses of health care. This covers 60 % of the cost of occupational health care and 50 % of the "necessary and reasonable" cost of medical care, up to a prescribed limit.
The KELA website provides further information on occupational health care, and other issues such as social security, unemployment and sickness and disability: http://www.kela.fi/in/internet/english.nsf
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