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What are Sports Vouchers (Virikeseteli) in Finland?

Employee benefits often reflect the culture of the country of employment, and international employers may find some unusual benefits in other parts of the world.  In Finland, there is an emphasis on work/life balance and supporting employees to achieve that.  One way that is possible is by offering your employees sports vouchers to help fund their recreational activities.

What is Virikeseteli?

Virikeseteli is a recreational benefit in the form of sports vouchers, that allows the employee to enjoy athletic venues and facilities in their free time.  The advantage for employers is that healthy and fit employees will often perform better, deal with stress more easily and have greater well-being.

Employees have numerous choices of how to use their sports vouchers including golfing, skiing, bowling, and even cultural events if they are not athletically inclined.

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Is Virikeseteli mandatory for the employer to provide?

The sports vouchers are a voluntary benefit the employer may provide, but is not mandatory.  However, it is a widely offered benefit in Finland.

Are sports vouchers a taxable benefit for the employer or employee?

Neither the employer nor employee pay any taxes for sports vouchers, and the employer may deduct the amount of the benefit as an expense.  The maximum tax-free amount for the employee is EUR 400 per year, and it is one alternative for increasing compensation.

Client Case: Issuing sports vouchers to remote employees in Finland

One of our clients asked us how we would help issue the sports vouchers in Finland, and what the was the process.  We let them know that we order the vouchers each year and send them directly to employees.

Do you need more information about Finland?

If you are new to hiring in Finland, you may have other questions such as:

If the employee does not use their entire sports voucher benefit in the current year, can those be carried over to the next year?

Can sports vouchers be shared with family members?

Would directly offering a gym membership to an employee be covered by the sports voucher benefit and still be tax-free?

These are the types of questions we routinely answer for our clients employing abroad, so that they remain compliant and their employees are satisfied.  We make international employment simple.


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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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