The amendments to the Employment Contracts Act, the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act and the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings will be in force from 1 April to 30 June 2020. The aim is to allow employers to adapt their activities more quickly in a situation where the coronavirus epidemic has suddenly and dramatically weakened the demand for products and services.
To the extent that the national collective agreement provides for minimum negotiation periods that are longer or shorter than five days, the negotiation and lay-off notice periods laid down in the collective agreement shall apply. The same applies to the provisions of collective agreements on re-employment obligation. The changes that reflect the new, temporary provisions, have already been made to about 90 per cent of the collective agreements.
The shorter notice periods for lay-offs will affect the livelihoods of wage and salary earners. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is currently preparing a government proposal to safeguard the livelihoods of employees during lay-off, among other things. More information on the submission of the proposal will be provided separately. In addition, a temporary amendment to the Unemployment Security Act will enter into force on 1 April 2020 that will extend employees’ right to unemployment benefit during lay-off. Those laid off will be entitled to unemployment benefit even if they are engaged in business activities or studies.