Supplementary budget funds for COVID-19 relevant protective equipment, devices and medicines, social security benefits, and support for those absent from work with no pay

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 8.4.2020 14.28 | Published in English on 8.4.2020 at 16.57
Press release 88/2020

In the second supplementary budget, the Government proposes appropriations to be granted to the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to be used for various kinds of social security benefits and the acquisition of COVID-19 relevant protective equipment, devices and medicines through the National Emergency Supply Agency. Financial support will also be granted to parents who are absent from work with no pay to take care of a child.

To respond to the growth in unemployment and lay-offs, an increase of EUR 1.2 billion will be targeted to unemployment security, housing allowance and social assistance.

Funds for the acquisition of protective equipment, devices and medicines

The Government proposes that EUR 600 million in funds will be allocated for the acquisition of COVID-19 relevant protective equipment, devices and medicines. Most of these acquisitions would be made through the National Emergency Supply Agency.

Temporary support for those absent from work with no pay due to the coronavirus epidemic

The Government also proposes that those absent from work with no pay due to the coronavirus epidemic could apply for temporary support. The support would compensate for the wages lost by a parent and secure their living when a parent is absent from work with no pay, while having complied with the Government’s recommendations to combat the coronavirus. The support could be paid to a parent who cares for children at home when they are not attending early childhood education and care or basic education due to the restrictions. The support would be applicable only in situations where a child is entitled to contact teaching even in exceptional circumstances.

The benefit would also be available to persons arriving in Finland from abroad who have been placed in quarantine-like conditions to combat the pandemic and are therefore away from work without pay.

The amount of the support would be the same as the minimum parental allowance, i.e. EUR 28.94 per weekday (EUR 723.50 per month). The support would be paid for the duration of the restrictions, as from 16 March. The support could be applied for retroactively. Further details on its implementation would be communicated by the Social Insurance Institution Kela.

The total amount of funds reserved for this support would be EUR 94 million.

Changes to other social security benefits

The Government proposes an increase of approximately 1.1 billion to the earnings-related component of unemployment benefits and job alternation compensation and to the basic security component of unemployment benefits. Of this amount, EUR 794 million is due to the growth in unemployment and lay-offs and EUR 20 million is intended to subsidise the functioning of unemployment funds.

Relating to the supplementary budget proposal, the Government has submitted to Parliament proposals for an act on the temporary right of self-employed people to receive unemployment security, and for acts on the temporary amendment of the Unemployment Security Act, the Act on Financing Unemployment Benefits and the Act on Unemployment Funds. The proposals will expand unemployment security and improve the livelihood of people facing unemployment or lay-offs. Of the proposed increase, EUR 272 million is due to the legislative amendments.

Due to the deteriorating employment outlook, the Government proposes an increase of EUR 169 million for the financing of basic social assistance and an increase of EUR 177 million for housing allowance expenditure.

An additional appropriation of EUR 30 million is proposed for the expenditure arising from the Self-Employed Persons Pensions Act. The need for funding is due to the reduction in the earned income of the self-employed and in the revenue from pension insurance contributions.

Additional funding to Kela, unemployment funds, Fimea and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

The Government proposes an additional appropriation of EUR 41 million to the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela. Funds are needed due to e.g. the increase in the costs arising from the benefits and customer services, additional IT costs, and additional administrative costs arising from the extension of unemployment security to self-employed persons and support to be paid to those absent from work with no pay due to the coronavirus epidemic. Funds will be allocated e.g. to the processing of applications for basic security benefits and other work related to this.

The Government proposes EUR 20 million in financing for unemployment funds.

For the operations of the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea, the Government proposes an increase of EUR 1.9 million. The funds are intended to ensuring the pharmaceutical services required by the coronavirus situation and securing the ICT service capacity.

For the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (TTL), the Government proposes EUR 0.4 million in additional funding.

Online service Omaolo

A total of EUR 6 million will be allocated for expanding and implementing distance appointments in healthcare and extending the digital service for healthcare and social welfare Omaolo to new hospital districts.

Grants to associations and foundations

The Government proposes an increase of EUR 5 million to the grants to associations and foundations for promoting health and social welfare. By means of this additional funding, a separate application for grants will be opened for associations in the health and social services sectors to respond to the crisis caused by the coronavirus. Grants will be targeted to psychosocial support via digital channels and to supporting individuals and families facing difficult life situations.

The proportion of the main title of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in the Government’s second supplementary budget proposal amounts to just over EUR 2.2. billion.

Inquiries:

Jiri Sironen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 410 (general questions)
Timo Lehtinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 387 (general questions)
Kirsi Varhila, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 295 163 338 (general questions)
Mikko Staff, Director of Finance, tel. +358 295 163 214 (general questions)
Liisa Siika-aho, Director, tel. +358 295 163 085 (benefits)
Pekka Tulokas, Director for Preparedness, tel. +358 295 163 202 (acquisitions)
Minna Saario, Director, tel. +358 295 163 146 (online healthcare and social welfare service Omaolo)
Tomas Forsström, Head of Financial Planning, tel. +358 295 163 563 (government agencies and public bodies)
Lassi Kauttonen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 577 (grants from the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations STEA