Some employers have had to shut down due to the coronavirus. According to the Finnish Employment Contracts Act, unless otherwise agreed, the employer is required to pay the employee full pay if the employee has been available to the employer in accordance with the contract, but has been prevented from working by circumstances for which the employer is responsible.
If the employee is prevented from working due to a fire, an exceptional natural event or another similar event affecting the workplace beyond the control of the employee or the employer, the employee is entitled to pay for the period of the impediment, though not for more than a maximum of 14 days.
Section 12, Chapter 2 in the Finnish Employment Contracts Act is intended for short-term situations, in which work at the workplace is prevented. The exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus will last more than two weeks, which means that the appropriate measure is to lay off the employees in accordance with section 2, Chapter 5 of the Employment Contracts Act:
The employer is entitled to lay off an employee if the work or the employer's potential for offering work have diminished temporarily and the employer cannot reasonably provide the employee with other suitable work or training corresponding to its needs; the work or the potential for offering work are considered to have diminished temporarily if they can be estimated to last a maximum of 90 days.
Under the Unemployment Security Act, an unemployed jobseeker seeking full-time employment is entitled to unemployment benefit under the preconditions laid down in the law. Therefore, it is highly problematic in terms of unemployment security if you do not receive a lay-off notice from your employer. In this respect, the KOKO unemployment fund’s instructions are as follows: If the employer does not lay you off, but your work is prevented, register with the TE Office. The TE Office will issue a statement to the unemployment fund as to whether the reason is comparable to a lay-off. You are entitled to earnings-related allowance for the duration of the reason comparable to a lay-off. Read more on KOKO fund's website.