What to do if you are laid off due to the coronavirus?
The measures taken to slow down the spread of coronavirus will also impact the operations of workplaces. Some workplaces have already had to lay off some employees due to the epidemic.
Layoff refers to a temporary suspension of work and wages. The employment relationship remains otherwise in force during the layoff.
Part-time or full-time, fixed-term or until further notice
The employer may lay off the employee either partially or fully, depending on the grounds for the layoff. Part-time layoff can mean a reduction of the daily working hours (e.g. from 7.5 hours to 6 hours) or the weekly working hours (e.g. from 5 days to 3 days). The employer considers the layoff method according to the layoff needs.
The layoff may be in force for a fixed term or until further notice. A layoff may be issued for a fixed term if, as grounds for the layoff, the employer’s prerequisites for offering work are considered reduced temporarily, for a maximum of 90 days. A layoff may be issued until further notice if the employer is not expecting changes to the situation.
It is the opinion of the Professionals of Business and Technology that layoffs resulting from the coronavirus epidemic should primarily be issued for a fixed term as the situation is changing every day and it is currently impossible to predict whether the situation will last longer than 3 months.
Employee cooperation negotiations and layoff notice
If the employer has at least 20 employees, the employer must conduct employee cooperation negotiations before deciding on layoffs.
Under the fixed-term Emergency Powers Act, which entered into force on 1 April 2020, the minimum time of employee cooperation negotiations has been shortened to five days. In some sectors, the parties to the collective agreement have agreed on shortening the lay-off notice period to for example 5 days. Check this on the website of the parties to the collective agreement applicable to your employment.
If the employer has fewer than 20 employees, layoffs will not require employee cooperation negotiations. In that case, however, the employer must, according to the information available to them, present the employee with an advance account of the grounds for the layoff as well as the estimated scope, implementation, start date and duration.
Under the fixed-term Emergency Powers Act, which entered into force on 1 April 2020, the employer must deliver a layoff notice to the employee at least 5 days before the start of the layoff. In some sectors, the parties to the collective agreement have agreed on shortening the lay-off notice period to for example 5 days.
Laying off a non-permanent employee
The employer may only lay off a non-permanent employee if they are working as a substitute for a permanent employee and the employer would have the right to lay off the permanent employee if they were working.
Under the fixed-term Emergency Powers Act, which entered into force on 1 April 2020, employers may lay off an employee in fixed-term employment on the same preconditions as an employee whose employment contract is valid indefinitely.
On Friday, 20 March 2020, the Finnish Government declared that in a lay-off situation, a fixed-term employee has the right to unemployment security and the right to terminate the employment contract regardless of its fixed-term nature. This Act has not entered into force yet.
Livelihood during layoff
If you are laid off, register as an unemployed job seeker online on the TE Office website on your first day of layoff. You cannot register retrospectively, and earnings-adjusted unemployment allowance can only be paid for the period of time when you have been registered at the TE Office as an unemployed job seeker.
Two weeks after the start of the layoff, apply for earnings-adjusted unemployment allowance in the online service of the KOKO unemployment fund. If your period of layoff is shorter than two weeks, apply for the allowance after your final day of layoff at the earliest. Read KOKO's instructions in case of a lay-off due to coronavirus.
You can use KOKO's allowance calculator to estimate the amount of your allowance.
For more information on allowance payments during layoff, go to: Instructions for temporarily laid off