Legislative amendment extends employees’ right to unemployment benefit during lay-off and provides easier and quicker access to unemployment benefit
As of 1 April 2020, employees laid off will be entitled to unemployment benefit even if they are engaged in business activities or studies. This amendment to the Unemployment Security Act will remain in force until 31 July 2020. The change will secure the livelihoods of employees during lay-off and simplify unemployment security related procedures in TE Offices during the coronavirus epidemic.
Finnish Parliament approved the Government proposal regarding the temporary amendment of chapter 11 of the Unemployment Security Act on 30 March 2020. The President approved the Act on 31 March 2020. The Act will apply to those laid off starting from 16 March 2020 or later.
Right to unemployment benefit during lay-off regardless of engagement in business activities or studies
The most significant change is that employees who register as jobseekers have the right to unemployment benefit during lay-off even if they were engaged in business activities or studies. The amendment provides easier and quicker access to unemployment benefit to those who study or engage in business activities while laid off. If the person who has been laid off has income from business activities, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and the unemployment fund take this income into account in the adjusted unemployment benefit.
The payment of unemployment benefit to a person who has been laid off will still require that the person registers as a jobseeker at the TE Office. The obligation to accept work offered by the employer will continue during lay-off.
The TE Office will not look into a refusal to accept work offered by the TE Office by a person laid off, or any negligence related to an employment plan or another similar plan or service.
TE Offices’ workload caused by lay-offs will be eased
The sharp and sudden increase in lay-offs will increase the workload of both TE Offices and the payers of unemployment benefits. TE Offices are experiencing backlogs as a large number of people laid off are registering as jobseekers and applying for unemployment benefit. The legislative amendment will reduce the workload caused by lay-offs in TE Offices and thereby accelerates the implementation of the unemployment security system during the coronavirus epidemic.
Piia Rekilä, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 396 3574
Eeva Vartio, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7082
Press release by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 26 March 2020 Notice period for lay-offs and the duration of co-operation negotiations will be shortened due to COVID-19