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Two temporary benefits available from Kela amid the coronavirus outbreak
Temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak and unemployment benefits for self-employed persons offer compensation for income lost due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak is a new benefit aimed at workers which provides compensation for loss of income during the outbreak.
It is available to workers who have to go on unpaid leave in order to look after a child at home. It can also be paid to persons arriving in Finland from abroad who have been placed in conditions equivalent to quarantine and are therefore forced to take unpaid leave from work.
For persons who qualify on account of child care responsibilities, the assistance is available until 13 May 2020. After that date, the assistance will no longer be available because according to the government recommendations and the information provided by the healthcare authorities, it will no longer be necessary for children to be absent from school or early childhood education.
Persons who arrive from abroad can receive the assistance for a maximum of 14 days after arriving in Finland. The assistance is available as long as the government restrictions are in effect.
To qualify for the temporary assistance, applicants must be employed in Finland and have a certificate showing that they are on unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak. Applications for temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak can made retroactively for three calendar months. The assistance can be paid starting from 16 March 2020.
Persons who are unemployed or laid off temporarily (furloughed) cannot get temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak. The assistance is also not available to persons on maternity, paternity or parental leave or on child care leave.
Self-employed persons are not eligible for financial assistance. However, if a self-employed person has been in paid employment alongside self-employment and has taken unpaid leave from the paid employment, they may be entitled to financial assistance.
As of 6 May 2020, there were 1,178 applications for temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak, 562 of which had been decided. About 29 percent of the applications were denied.
According to Marjukka Turunen, a senior advisor at Kela, the most common reason why applications are denied is that the applicant is not employed in Finland. Another typical reason is that the applicant does not know what benefits they can get during the emergency conditions. Therefore, many customers have put in an application for such benefits as the temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak, Turunen says.
The emergency conditions caused by the coronavirus epidemic have had an impact on many people’s finances. Kela’s website contains an overview of what benefits are available in various circumstances.
Self-employed persons can qualify for labour market subsidies due to the coronavirus outbreak
Temporary labour market subsidy payments are intended for self-employed persons whose business has suffered under the coronavirus outbreak.
Kela can pay self-employed persons labour market subsidy temporarily, if at least one of the following requirements is met:
- Full-time employment in the business has ended due to the outbreak.
- The income from self-employment is, because of the epidemic, less than EUR 1,089.67 per month.
Temporary labour market subsidy payments for self-employed persons are available until 30 June 2020.
As of 3 May 2020, a total of 20,850 persons had applied for labour market subsidy for the self-employed.
All of the other benefits available from Kela continue to be paid normally, and applications for them are received as usual.