Decree submitted to Parliament on the use of powers concerning the obligation to work under the Emergency Powers Act
On Wednesday 25 March, the Government issued a decree under which the obligation of healthcare professionals to carry out work laid down in the Emergency Powers Act can be applied throughout the country. In line with the decree, people working in both public and private healthcare who have received training in the field and who have reached the age of 18 but not 68 may be required to work.
To safeguard the status and rights of people obliged to work, the provisions of section 14 of the Emergency Powers Act shall also apply. These provisions concern the reporting duties of people obliged to work, the content of an order to work, restrictions on issuing an order to work and matters to be taken into account when issuing an order to work. In addition, the provisions on the employment relationship of a person obliged to work, the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, the employer’s obligation to disclose information and the work obligation register shall apply.
The Employment and Economic Development Offices shall act as the competent authorities in implementing the obligation to work.
The decree enters into force on 26 March 2020 and will remain in force until 13 April 2020.
The Government, in cooperation with the President of the Republic, has declared a state of emergency in Finland over the coronavirus outbreak. On 17 March 2020, the Government submitted two decrees on the use of powers under the Emergency Powers Act to Parliament. Parliament decided on 18 March 2020 that the Government decree on the use of the powers laid down in sections 86, 88, 93–95 and 109 of the Emergency Powers Act could remain in force, with the exception of the provisions on the employee’s obligation to work.
Background information on the Emergency Powers Act
The Emergency Powers Act lays down provisions on the power of authorities in emergency conditions. The powers defined in the Emergency Powers Act can be exercised only if authorities cannot control the situation with normal powers. Under the Emergency Powers Act, the rights and everyday lives of individuals will be restricted only if this is necessary to protect the population.
The decision to use the powers laid down in the Emergency Powers Act for a maximum period of six months shall be made by Government decree (commissioning decree) when the Government, in cooperation with the President of the Republic, has declared that there is a state of emergency in the country. The final decision-making power on adopting the Act rests with Parliament. Parliament decides whether the additional powers defined in the Government decree will be adopted in full or in part. Parliament may also decide to repeal the Government Decree.
In an urgent situation, it is possible to introduce additional powers immediately. In that case, the decree will also be submitted to Parliament immediately. The decree must be submitted to Parliament within a week of its issue or it will lapse.
Inquiries: Elina Isoksela, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 063 719 and Jaska Siikavirta, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 394