TE services for entrepreneurs and employers during the coronavirus epidemic

Updated May 28, 2020

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Lay-offs

Start-up

Entrepreneur's unemployment security

Amendments to the Employment Contracts Act regarding redundancies

Lay-offs

Temporary legislative amendments related to lay-offs:

  • Employer must notify employees of lay-offs no later than five days before the start of the lay-off.
  • The duration of the employer/employee negotiations on lay-offs has been shortened: the duration of the negotiations is a minimum of five days.
  • Due to the coronavirus epidemic, a fixed-term employee can be laid off in the same way as an employee with an indefinitely valid employment contract

The changes are temporary and valid until 30 June 2020.

Lay-offs step by step – a video guide for employers

Start-up

Maximum start-up grant period temporarily extended

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, start-up grants can temporarily be granted for up to 18 months.

Start-up grants for a period of time of over 12 months are intended for entrepreneurs whose prerequisites for launching or establishing business activities during the normal start-up grant period are hindered by the coronavirus epidemic.

The TE Office grants a start-up grant in periods of no more than six months. Applications for an extension of the start-up grant must be submitted to the TE Office. As a rule, the application must be submitted to the TE Office before the end of the previous period.

The law is in force from 1 May 2020 until 30 June 2021.

An entrepreneur receiving a start-up grant can also receive the start-up grant for days when the entrepreneur is unable to work in his or her company due to the coronavirus epidemic. The amendment is temporary, lasting until 31 June 2020.

Why is the maximum duration of the start-up grant not automatically extended for all recipients of the start-up grant?

Although the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions have a broad impact on economic activities and the operating conditions of entrepreneurs, the crisis may not affect all sectors. The start-up grant is a discretionary benefit granted to secure the entrepreneur's livelihood. It is appropriate to target the extended period of the start-up grant to those entrepreneurs whose activities have been adversely affected by the crisis and who have a need for income.

The Employment and Economic Development Office may grant a start-up grant to a personal customer starting full-time business operations, as referred to in Chapter 2, section 5 of the Unemployment Security Act, to secure his or her livelihood. The start-up grant is granted for a maximum of 18 months. The Act, passed on 30 April 2020 (295/2020), is valid from 1 May 2020 to 30 June 2021.

What should I do to get an extended start-up grant period?

The possibility of an extended start-up grant period applies to those whose start-up grant period is in progress when the Act enters into force. The temporary extension of the maximum grant period also extends to those who start their business with a start-up grant during the coronavirus pandemic. Especially with regard to these entrepreneurs, when making a decision on granting the start-up grant for the final six months, it would be assessed whether the business activities started during the coronavirus pandemic were hindered in a more significant or longer-lasting way than was estimated when the start-up grant was originally granted, in which case granting the start-up grant for a longer period of time would be justified. The change is temporary and valid until 30 June 2021.

The TE Office grants a start-up grant in periods of no more than six months. Applications for an extension of the start-up grant must be submitted to the TE Office. As a rule, the application must be submitted to the TE Office before the end of the previous period.

Entrepreneur's unemployment security

As an entrepreneur, you are temporarily eligible to receive labour market subsidy due to the sudden and unexpected decline in demand caused by the coronavirus epidemic. This applies to all entrepreneurs, regardless of the type of business. A precondition for receiving labour market subsidy is that the full-time employment of the entrepreneur in the company has ended or that the income from business activity is less than EUR 1,089.67 per month per each entrepreneur working in the company. In order to receive labour market subsidy, the entrepreneur must register as a jobseeker with the TE Office. The TE Office issues Kela with a labour policy statement on the entrepreneur's right to labour market subsidy. The law is valid until 30 June 2020.

The entrepreneur and unemployment security

How to begin your job search

Starting your job search - note when registering

Due to the rapid preparation of the amendment and its fixed-term entry into force, it has not been possible to edit the TE Services' online service to meet the changed requirements. For this reason, the registration form still includes questions that you must answer in the same way as those who are registering for some other reason.

After you have submitted your registration, you will receive a notification which will provide you with instructions on how to proceed in your situation. Read and follow the instructions carefully.

Important information for entrepreneurs registering as jobseekers

How do entrepreneurs apply for a labour market subsidy?

The payment of a labour market subsidy requires that a person registers as a jobseeker at their TE Office and Kela receives a labour policy statement on their right to the labour market subsidy.
In practice, the application proceeds as follows:

  1. The entrepreneur registers as a jobseeker at the TE Office and provides evidence of the termination of full-time employment or loss of income due to the coronavirus epidemic.
  2. The TE office issues a labour policy statement to Kela on the entrepreneur's right to a labour market subsidy.
  3. The entrepreneur applies to Kela for a labour market subsidy.
  4. Kela pays the labour market subsidy to the entrepreneur.

The fastest and easiest way to register as a jobseeker is to use the TE Services' E-Services online service. Instructions for entrepreneurs on registering as a jobseeker have been published on the TE Services website.

Kela has published an online application for labour market subsidy for entrepreneurs.

E-services (individual customers) in Finnish

Unemployment benefit in the coronavirus situation (kela.fi)

Applying for a full-time job during your job search

In order to receive the benefit, a person registered as a jobseeker during the fixed-term amendment to the Unemployment Security Act must be a jobseeker at the TE Office but full-time employment is not required during this period.

However, if the job search continues after the fixed-term act ending on 30 June 2020, full-time employment must be applied for as of 01/07/2020 in order to continue receiving the benefit. In this case, receiving the benefit also involves the obligation to accept any job offer presented to you by the TE Office.

Although the Unemployment Security Act does not require you to apply for full-time employment when registering as a jobseeker, by answering 'Yes' in the corresponding question you can speed up the processing of your unemployment benefit application. In this way, no automatic statement will be submitted to the party paying the unemployment benefit that would indicate that you do not have the prerequisites for the subsidy.  TE Offices monitor the information in the online service and correct the information to comply with the valid Unemployment Security Act on a fixed-term basis.

In the current coronavirus situation, can a sole entrepreneur apply for and receive both the €2000 subsidy from their municipality and unemployment benefit as well?

How do these benefits affect each other?
An entrepreneur may apply for both the subsidy for sole entrepreneurs and unemployment security. They are not linked, meaning that obtaining one does not affect the size or availability of the other.

Preparations for coronavirus-related support to sole entrepreneurs progressing

Amendments to the Employment Contracts Act regarding redundancies

  • The employer must notify the TE Office when making redundant ten or more employees. The government has reintroduced into the Employment Contracts Act a provision according to which the employer must notify the TE Office of employee redundancies if the number of employees to be made redundant on productive or financial grounds is ten or over. The changes will enter into force according to an accelerated timetable, on 9 April 2020.
  • A similar obligation applies to an employer who make redundant ten or more employees due to restructuring procedures or the bankruptcy of the company.
  • In addition to notifying the TE Office, the employer must inform the employee to be made redundant in the above-mentioned situations of his or her right to an employment plan. The employment plan is drawn up when the employee registers as an unemployed jobseeker at the TE Office.
  • The notification made to the TE Office must indicate the number of employees to be a redundant, their professions or work tasks and the date that their employment will be terminated. The planning work to develop the digital filing service for these notifications is being carried out jointly by the KEHA Centre, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Cooperation for Change Security project. The aim is to provide employers within a short timeframe with an online channel for submitting the notification to the TE Office.
  • The amendment to the act means that the TE Offices will have better access to information on the final outcome of the redundancies taking place.  The amendment also brings a need for rapid changes to be made to the TE Services' website, forms, brochures and various information materials.
  • The above-mentioned obligations also apply to seafarers' employment relationships and the municipal sector through amendments made to the Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act and the Act on Municipal Officers. In addition, a provision concerning TE Offices’ preparedness for receiving employers' notifications will be reintroduced into the Act on Public Employment and Business Service.

 

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