Support coming for those absent from work without pay

The Government has proposed a compensation for the loss of earnings if a parent stays at home without pay to look after a child during the epidemic. The loss of earnings would also be compensated in a situation in which the person has been directed to quarantine-like conditions after returning to Finland from abroad. The proposal has not yet been approved.

During the coronavirus epidemic there have been cases in which a person returning from abroad cannot have gone to work, although an official quarantine has not been ordered. Similarly, many parents have been away from work without pay at home to look after their child in early education or grades 1–3 of basic education, in accordance with the recommendations issued by the government for the prevention of the coronavirus epidemic.

In such cases it has not been possible to apply for unemployment benefit or other support. The Government proposed (HE 51/2020) that the loss of earnings be compensated in such situations.

Compensation would be paid, if the loss of earnings is not compensated by virtue of another law, such as the Communicable Diseases Act. Receiving compensation would require an agreement between the employee and employer on absence without pay.

According to the proposal the amount of the support would be the same as the minimum parental allowance i.e. 28.94 euros per weekday (723.50 euros per month). The plan is to pay the compensation from 16 March on during the exceptional circumstances. Support would be paid to parents of school pupils at most for the duration of the school term, and those returning to Finland would receive support for a maximum of 14 days after returning to Finland. Support could be applied for retroactively, and the details of its implementation would be published by Kela.