Companies in the service sector require a high skill-level. The recent Service sector skill survey shows that there are few jobs available for the uneducated even with pay subsidies. Service Sector Employers Palta, the Finnish Commerce Federation and Finance Finland demand stronger employment measures from the government.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and Service Union United PAM demand that the Government quickly provides information about the direct support measures which the State is prepared to take to avoid a wave of bankruptcies in the specialty goods trade. More extensive social responsibility and clear support measures are also expected of lessors. The situation is alarming in many specialty goods trade businesses: sales have plummeted by 80–90 per cent within only a few weeks.
The employment figures for the retail sector have been trending downward since the summer of 2018, and the coronavirus pandemic is set to impact these figures even further. Consumers are also facing a greater threat of unemployment than before, which is directly reflected in their consumption habits. Contrary to previous estimates of moderate growth, turnover is now expected to decrease. The situation will impact domestic specialty goods trade the most, as the sector is already in a critical state.
The Finnish Commerce Federation urges the Government to quickly decide on direct subsidies for companies to cover costs such as rental expenses. The specialty goods trade is facing a critical situation due to the coronavirus epidemic, so there is a pressing need for decisions. According to information that has been discussed in public, the use of subsidies from ELY Centres for paying salaries and rent will be possible going forward, and the Government Decree that will enable this is currently being drafted. Even if the legal drafting process for the Government Decree is completed next week, it is essential for this decision to be given preliminary confirmation as soon as possible. The Finnish Commerce Federation proposes that the solution should follow the lead set by the other Nordic countries that have introduced direct subsidies.
These guidelines review critical matters concerning lay-offs. It should be noted that companies with 20 or more regular employees must comply with the co-operation procedure before carrying out lay-offs.
These guidelines cover the critical aspects of co-operation procedures in the event of lay-offs as the coronavirus impacts the entire country. The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings must be followed in companies that have 20 or more regular employees.
The scale of the package of supportive measures announced today by the Finnish Government to counter the damage caused by the coronavirus epidemic is good. However, new measures are needed. The time period for the amendments being made to the labour law and unemployment benefits is insufficient. In addition, the supportive measures aimed at businesses need to be complemented.
The changes below take effect on 19 March 2020. The changes are available for use immediately during ongoing and future co-operation negotiations, as well as for future lay-off notices and lay-off notices that have already been issued. The changes apply to all collective agreements between the Finnish Commerce Federation and Service Union United PAM.
The Finnish Commerce Federation has reached an agreement with Service Union United PAM on emergency provisions for the collective agreement in order to safeguard the future of businesses in the sector and save jobs. The new provisions take effect on 19 March, and they will remain in force throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
These guidelines cover some common questions concerning employment relationships in light of the ongoing coronavirus situation. The guidelines will be updated as applicable. The Finnish Commerce Federation's employment advisers are available as normal and ready to answer any questions that member companies may have on this topic.