Government to discuss extending coronavirus wage support next week

Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) logo.
Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) logo. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government is to discuss extending its wage aid package introduced in the wake of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

An economic package supporting companies in Ida-Viru County is also likely to be approved this week.

However, the economic package to be developed to support companies in Ida-Virumaa should be approved already this week

Minister of Economic Affairs Taavi Aas (Center) said that the latter package is currently being discussed at government level.

"I hope that we will get far enough to confirm this topic tomorrow," Aas said at a press conference at noon Wednesday, adding that wage subsidies made up a part of the Ida-Viru County initiative, but went beyond that too.

The scheme, introduced around a month ago, provides 70 percent of employees' wages to companies directly hit by the pandemic, up to a maximum of €1,000 per employee. As it was originally set to run for two months, it is due to expire in early June for those companies who took advantage of the scheme when it was first available.

Applications opened on Monday, April 6, and 2,663 employers had joined within two days, with close to €700,000 already paid out at that point. By April 14, €19 million worth of wage compensation had been paid to over 22,000 employees of more than 3,907 companies. As early as April 19, Riigikogu financial affairs committee chair Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), pointed out a dilemma in that while no nation state could continue paying 70 percent of employee wages indefinitely, no company should be abandoned either.

The aid is provided via the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa).

Whether and on what terms the package will be extended is to be discussed next week.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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