Changes affecting the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s administrative branch from 2020
Amendments to the Working Hours Act, the Competition Act and the Natural Gas Market Act as well as changes to the EU threshold values will enter into force at the beginning of 2020. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be responsible for the administration of labour migration matters from the beginning of 2020.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to assume responsibility for labour migration administration
From the beginning of 2020, the Ministry of the Interior will no longer be responsible for the administration of labour migration matters. This responsibility will be transferred to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. This transfer of duties was agreed on in the Government Programme. The objective is to link labour and student migration more closely to employment, industrial, innovation, education and immigration policies.
Working Hours Act to be updated
The new Working Hours Act caters to changes in the labour market and working life, such as the growing popularity of time and location independent working. The new Working Hours Act provides workplaces with tools for individual working hours solutions such as more adaptive arrangements regarding flexitime, flexible working hours and the introduction of a working hours bank.
The reform also caters to the requirements of the Working Hours Directive and its interpretations.
Provision on maintaining separate accounts to become applicable
As of 1 January 2020, municipalities, joint municipal authorities, the state or any entities under their control that engage in economic activities in a competitive situation must maintain separate accounts on their activities.
This facilitates the control of market-based pricing also in situations where a public entity has corporatised both economic activities and other activities in a single company.
The provision on maintaining separate accounts is part of the Competition Act which entered into force in June 2019.
New EU threshold values in procurement legislation in effect as of 1 January 2020
The European Commission has lowered the threshold values such that the threshold for goods and services procured by central government without competitive tendering will fall from EUR 144,000 to EUR 139,000 and by other procurement authorities such as local governments and parishes from 221,000 to EUR 214,000.
The threshold for building contracts will be lowered from EUR 5,548,000 to EUR 5,350,000.
Natural gas markets open to competition from 1 January 2020
The interconnected natural gas markets of Finland, Estonia and Latvia will open to competition in early 2020 once the Balticconnector pipeline connecting the Finnish and Estonian gas networks goes online.