Unemployment Insurance Fund starts paying wage compensation to employees

An Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) office on Vaksali Street in Tartu.
An Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) office on Vaksali Street in Tartu. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

The Unemployment Insurance Fund has so far paid out €686,300 to employees whose companies have filed for wage compensation due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Applications opened on Monday and 2,663 employers have joined.

The number of employees compensated as of Wednesday morning is 1,039 and the average size of the compensation is €660 euros gross, the fund said in a statement.

The applications are processed and compensation is paid out in the order the applications are received. Payouts are executed by the Unemployment Insurance Fund on all business days.

CEO of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Meelis Paavel said checking the data submitted in the applications takes a couple of days, and if necessary the fund will ask the employer for additional information.

"If everything is correct, both the employee and the employer will get the decision into their mailbox, and in general the compensation is paid into the employee's bank account the next business day," Paavel said.

The application must be filed via the self-service portal of the Unemployment Insurance Fund by the employer or an authorized person.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund started accepting applications for the compensation on Monday, and by Wednesday morning applications had been filed by 2,663 employers concerning 15,382 employees in total. 

To qualify for the measure, an employer must meet two out of three conditions. The company's turnover or revenue must have decreased at least 30 percent compared with the same period last year, the company is in a situation where it does not have work to give in the agreed amount to at least 30 percent of employees, and the wages of the workers have been lowered at least 30 percent or to the minimum wage.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund will compensate to the employee 70 percent of their previous average wage, but no more than €1,000 a month gross, and no less than the minimum wage. 

The employer is obliged to pay the employees receiving the compensation a gross pay of at least €150 a month, which must be paid out before the application is filed.

The measure is part of a package introduced by the government last month to support the economy after the emergency situation was introduced to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the economy. Areas such as tourism have been particularly hard hit.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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