On 23 April 2020, the Government submitted a proposal to Parliament to extend the maximum duration of start-up funding (the so-called starttiraha) and to increase flexibility in the periodic interviews of jobseekers conducted by TE Offices.
The proposal also includes changes to the entitlement of jobseekers to unemployment security. These temporary changes are proposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are scheduled to enter into force on 1 May 2020, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The maximum duration of start-up funding would be temporarily extended from 12 to 18 months.
Government said the change would enable business owners receiving start-up funding to start and establish business operations despite the temporary decline in the business conditions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The proposed change would be in force until 30 June 2021.
The proposal also includes a change that would prevent a person’s job search from expiring due to a mistake made in the online service when starting the job search. A person’s job search status affects their entitlement to unemployment benefit. The changes concerning interviews and job search status would remain in force until 30 June 2020.
Losing unemployment benefit
According to the Government, "in the future, failure to implement their employment plan would not result in jobseekers losing their entitlement to unemployment benefit."
The jobseeker would also be entitled to interrupt participation in an employment-promoting service for a justified reason due to the COVID-19 pandemic without losing their unemployment benefit. These changes would remain in force until 31 July 2020.
The obligation of the TE Office to organise periodic interviews with the jobseeker would be temporarily changed.
Interviews would only be arranged at the start of the job search with jobseekers with a special need for an interview.
The resources of the TE Office and the region’s labour market situation would also be taken into account when assessing the obligation to organise interviews. Any subsequent interviews should be arranged every three months, if possible.