The Government proposes that the legislative amendments relating to the unemployment benefit of laid-off employees and entrepreneurs, and the activities of Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices) be partly continued. The temporary amendments aim to safeguard the livelihoods of laid-off employees and entrepreneurs and to facilitate the handling of unemployment security matters amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.
The Government submitted the proposal to Parliament on 19 November 2020. Some of the temporary amendments, which are set to expire at the end of 2020, would be extended. The government proposal is included in the supplementary budget proposal for 2021.
Laid-off employees have had a temporary right to study full-time without the studies having an effect on their unemployment benefit. The Government proposes that the amendment remain in force until 31 December 2021. The amendment will apply to those laid off on or after 16 March 2020.
The amendment will help laid-off employees, who work and study, to apply for and receive unemployment benefit during the lay-off, because the TE Office does not assess whether the studies are of full-time or part-time nature.
Entrepreneurs have been temporarily entitled to labour market support if full-time work in the company has ended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Government proposes that the provision remain in force until 31 March 2021.
In order to receive labour market support, a person must register as a jobseeker with the TE Office and the TE Office must issue a labour policy statement on their entitlement to labour market support to the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Kela has paid labour market support to approximately 42,500 entrepreneurs in April–September 2020.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, TE Offices have been able to organise periodic interviews with jobseekers more flexibly than usual. Interviews have only been arranged at the start of the job search with jobseekers with a special need for an interview. The Government proposes that the amendment remain in force until 31 January 2021.
In addition, the provision under which unemployed jobseekers will not lose their right to unemployment benefit due to the failure to implement the employment plan will be extended until 31 January 2021.