Sports coaches will not receive state support after coronavirus job losses

Ülemiste City branch of  MyFitness in Tallinn.
Ülemiste City branch of MyFitness in Tallinn. Source: MyFitness

With sports clubs across Estonia closed, many coaches and trainers who worked, sometimes alongside other jobs, on flexible contracts are now finding themselves not only without work, but also without any state support.

MP Lauri Läänemets (SDE) noted in a press release from March 26 there are close to an estimated 20,000 people in Estonia who the current crisis aid measures currently do not help, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

The CEO of one gym chain in Estonia, Tiina Otsa, of MyFitness, told ERR Friday that there are 305 coaches working in their sports clubs in Estonia alone, and whose clubs do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance Fund support. 

MyFitness has terminated 39 people's contracts already, she said.

"We very much expect the state to say something about us, since so far all the aid packages have been for the benefit of the state and the city itself," Otsa said, adding that no information has been received from the government about people working under agency or service contracts.

Sports club 24-7 fitness manager Andrus Murumets told ERR a similar story of canceled contracts, adding that since many coaches treat the sports club post as a second or even third job, they hope to receive compensation from their primary employer.

Kaspar Engelbrecht, board member at Impuls sports club and Karin Kaleta, manager of the Golden Club fitness club, told ERR that no contracts have been terminated yet. 

Impuls sports club employs 35 coaches under an agency contract, and Golden Club provides work to 40 coaches.

"For us, the decision [from the unemployment fund] is pending, and if it is not clear by the middle of next week, we must start terminating these agency agreements," Engelbrecht said.

Lauri Läänemets also said that the state still has a duty to those who have flexible, but legal, work arrangements.

"For a long time, the state has known that more and more people work in several fields at the same time, have different sources of income and use different forms of work. By establishing a special situation, the state has deprived most of these people of the opportunity to work," Läänemets said, noting that professional coaches have studied their profession for many years before they are qualified to start working, and, as with other professions, it is not easy for a person to start in a new place from scratch.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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