State has paid wage compensation for 3,900 Estonian companies ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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

Data from the Unemployment Insurance Fund shows €19 million worth of wage compensation has so far been paid to over 22,000 employees of more than 3,907 companies.

Registered unemployment has increased by 22 percent during the month of the emergency situation which was called to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Over 23,000 sick-leave certificates have been opened digitally.

4,300 companies have applied in total for wage compensation for March last week after the scheme opened.

The largest employers to sign up are Reval Cafe, Toila sanatorium, Estonia Spa hotel in Pärnu, Kaubamaja and Klick chain store; from industry Jalax and Haapsalu door factories. However, the highest amount of compensation has been paid to the 194 people of the Sportland and Fenix casino chain.

Fenix told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday there are 230 people working in the company and this the amount of compensation they applied for.

"We decided to apply for March because the casino was closed on March 16 and after that, there have only been expenses [paid out] and not any income whatsoever," the company said.

Most of the applications were presented in the first week of the system being open.

Head of the Jobseeker's and Employers' Service Department of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Katrin Liivamets said there were about 10 applications from bigger companies where compensation was asked for more than 250 people.

Liivamets said that, presumably, most of the bigger companies are applying for compensation for April.

She said the biggest growth in the number of applications is in the third week of April.

"Collective redundancy statistics have also shown that the number of redundancy notices decreased slightly in the last week compared to the third. We hope that wage compensation has still helped employers make decisions to not lay off people yet," Liivamets added.

23,000 people have so far used the possibility to take sick-leave certificates. Only 88 of them lasted for less than 8 days. Taking incapacity for work certificates has grown multiple times.

Chairman of the Board of the Health Insurance Fund Rain Laane said that usually about 20,000 to 25,000 sick-leave certificates are taken during the non-flu season and about 40,000 to 40,000 during the flu season.

"This time the number is 92,000 which has been during a month," Laane said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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