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Politics - 20.03.2020 klo 16.21

Unemployment security improved, layoffs facilitated

The government’s package of measures includes shortening the work requirement and the possibility to lay off temporary employees. The package is designed to safeguard people’s incomes and companies’ liquidity in the situation caused by coronavirus.

The Finnish government has today decided a number of measures designed to improve the ability of people and companies to get through the situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic. They will be considered by parliament before they come into force.

The changes being planned to unemployment security will help out those falling victim to the unprecedented wave of layoffs and dismissals. The unemployment security waiting period is being removed both for layoffs and dismissals. More people will be able to get earnings-related benefits as the work requirement is being temporarily halved. The new work requirement is 13 weeks in employment relationships starting on or after 1 January 2020. Layoffs also do not use up the maximum period of unemployment security.

Under the Employment Contracts Act, an employer must correspondingly from now on notify at least 5 days before the start of a layoff, whereas the normal period is 14 days. The minimum negotiating periods under the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings are being shortened in layoff situations from the current 14 days and the current 6 weeks to 5 days. Normally an employer is not entitled to lay off a temporary employee. Now this will be possible for a limited period.

During this week PAM has agreed similar temporary changes to the rules on layoffs and co-operation negotiations in collective agreements. They came into force straight away.

It is estimated that the situation caused by coronavirus will also hit the self-employed and freelancers particularly hard. Self-employed persons will now be entitled to unemployment allowance whatever form of enterprise they have.

The state is also preparing to support unemployment funds in 2020 to the tune of 20 million euros.

The government is now preparing the above measures. They will then be considered by parliament. The changes are time-limited and are currently in place for three months. The changes to employment legislation apply to all firms and organisations.

Most of the things were proposed to the government by the labour market confederations. PAM and the other trade unions have agreed the temporary changes to collective agreements with the employers’ federations. These apply for example to notification of sick leave and possibilities to change shift lists. You can find all the changes to PAM’s collective agreements here.