In spring 2020, some changes were implemented to unemployment security due to the coronavirus. The changes were fixed term, and the term will soon end. We have compiled a list of the changes and the dates they expire.
Amendments made to the terms of the changes
Some of the changes will expire at the end of the year but for some of the changes, the term has been extended until the end of March 2021.
Working condition and membership condition
A temporary legislative amendment lowered the employees’ working condition to 13 calendar weeks. This shortened working condition has only been applied if the normal working condition of 26 weeks was not fulfilled. However, the application of the shorter working condition requires that the employee has been employed for at least one week (fulfilling the requirements of the condition) since the start of March.
A similar temporary change was made to the working condition of entrepreneurs’ family members. Normally, the working condition for entrepreneur’s family members is 52 calendar weeks, but during the pandemic it was shortened to 26 calendar weeks.
These changes expire on 31 December 2020. If your unemployment or lay-off starts on 1 January 2021, we can no longer use the shorter working condition as grounds for paying an earnings-related daily allowance.
Under normal conditions, a waiting period of five working days is applied at the start of unemployment or a lay-off. The waiting period condition must be fulfilled within eight consecutive calendar weeks. With the coronavirus changes, the waiting period has been five weekdays. The largest change, however, is that we have been able to pay applicants earnings-related daily allowance for the duration of the waiting period as well. Normally, no daily allowance is paid for the waiting period.
The change is applied to waiting periods that begin on or after 16 March 2020 and at the latest on 31 December 2020. This means that the change can be applied to a waiting period that starts on 31 December 2020 until its end. On the other hand, a waiting period that starts on 1 January 2021 will be handled according to the regular rules, which means we cannot pay earnings-related daily allowance for the duration of the waiting period.
Maximum payment period
The earnings-related allowance paid on or after 1 July 2020 has not accumulated days that would be counted towards the maximum payment period of the earnings-related allowance.
The earnings-related allowances paid will be counted towards the maximum payment period again from 1 January 2021 onward.
Specific adjustment period and converted salary not applied
During the pandemic, the specific adjustment period has not been applied. The specific adjustment period has not been used in the payment of unemployment benefits for application periods that have started on 11 May 2020 or later but at the latest before 31 March 2021.
The specific adjustment period will therefore not be used for application periods starting before 31 March 2021. However, application periods starting on or after 1 April 2021 will be subject to the rules of the specific adjustment period.
The specific adjustment period is a tool for benefits payment used to take into account the periods of adjusted daily allowance, during which you are entitled to the full earnings-related daily allowance, and the periods, during which you are not entitled to receive daily allowance at all.
Increased exempt amount
When you receive income from part-time work, full-time work lasting less than two weeks or from working part-time as an entrepreneur, we will take the income you receive into account in the amount of earnings-related daily allowance you receive. As a rule, the income reduces the amount of earnings-related allowance. If the amount of income is small, it will not affect the amount of your earnings-related daily allowance at all. "Small income" is determined with the set exempt amount, which has been raised on a fixed-term basis due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The exempt amount has been temporarily increased from EUR 300 to EUR 500 per month and from EUR 279 to EUR 465 per four calendar weeks.
The increased exempt amount is applied to application periods that have started on or before 1 June 2020, but that start no later than on 31 March 2021.
The increased exempt amount will therefore be used during application periods that start this year. On the other hand, the increased exempt amount can no longer be used for application periods starting on or after 1 April 2021.
Examining labour policy requirements
The TE Office has not examined the labour policy requirements of people laid off on or after 16 March 2020. The change does not apply to people who were laid off before this date or who are completely unemployed.
Failing to complete a needs-assessment questionnaire on TE Services’ website or to submit a proposal of an employment plan has not invalidated a jobseeker’s status while the coronavirus changes are in force.
In addition, jobseekers have not lost the right to unemployment benefit as a result of failing to implement an employment plan or an appropriate alternative plan.
Individuals who had enrolled on a short educational programme within the meaning of the Unemployment Benefits Act but whose studies have ended up taking longer than the six-month limit have also been able to apply for unemployment benefits. The prerequisite has been that the prolongation of the studies was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
All these changes are valid until 31 December 2020. After this date, the TE Office will normally examine all labour policy requirements. For more information, please contact the TE Office.
These changes are about to be amended. Some of the changes will continue to be valid in early 2021 as well.
Consideration of income from entrepreneurship
During the pandemic, applicants have been able to directly report the income they have received from entrepreneurial activities for the coordination of part-time entrepreneurial activities and the payment of earnings-related allowance. As of 1 April 2021, income will again be assessed according to taxation rules, i.e., based on income statements.
Applicants can report their own income during application periods that start this year. However, for application periods starting 1 April 2021 or after, the self-reporting is no longer sufficient.
Earnings-related daily allowance can be paid without a decision for a maximum of two months. A change to this has been in effect during the pandemic that extended this period to six months. The six-month period can be applied when earnings-related allowance is paid for application periods starting no later than 31 March 2021.
During the pandemic, mobility allowance has been granted for the duration of full-time work if the commute to and from work takes at least two hours. Before this change came into effect, the duration of the commute needed to be at least three hours.
The two-hour commute requirement applies to full-time employment contracts that start between 12 June 2020 and 31 March 2021.