These guidelines cover some of the common questions concerning employment relationships in relation to the ongoing coronavirus situation. The guidelines are updated regularly. 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.
Month: March 2020
The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Union of Private Sector Professionals ERTO have agreed on changes to the Collective Agreement for Opticians in accordance with the recommendations of the central labour market organisations in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes apply to the notice period for lay-offs, the negotiating period for co-operation negotiations and the re-employment of dismissed employees.
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.
The Finnish Commerce Federation and the Transport Workers’ Union AKT have agreed on changes to the Collective Agreement for Commercial Transport Workers in accordance with the recommendations of the central labour market organisations in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes apply to the notice period for lay-offs, the negotiating period for co-operation negotiations and the re-employment of dismissed employees.
These guidelines cover the critical aspects of co-operation procedures in the event of lay-offs relating to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings must be followed in companies that have 20 or more regular employees.
The validity of the emergency legislative changes due to the covid-19 will end on 31 December 2020. The emergency legislative provisions in order to help the covid-19 situation came into force 1 April 2020. Originally, the changes were agreed to be valid until 30 June 2020 but their validity was lengthened until 31 December 2020. The legislative changes were applicable to all employees regardless of whether they are covered by the collective agreements for the commercial sector or not.
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.
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 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.