Wage compensation claims doubled to 100,000 in last five days

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

Applications for employee wage compensation have doubled to 103,000 this week, daily newspaper Postimess reported on Friday. On Monday, the number of applications made to the government scheme was 54,200.

The wage compensation scheme is funded by the government and pays the wages of employees who cannot work during the crisis resulting from the coronavirus mitigation measures. Companies apply to the scheme on behalf of their workers.

The number of companies which had filed applications was 7,700 at the beginning of the week.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund, who is running the scheme, has assigned a wage compensation to 62,200 people to date and the total value of the compensations approved is €61 million.

Lauri Kool, spokesman for the Unemployment Insurance Fund, said the surge was attributable to bigger companies starting to file applications for wage compensation.

"In March it was mostly small companies which wished to get support, and with one application compensation was sought for about five workers, now the average number of employees per application is 8.2," Kool said.

A new high was registered on Monday of this week, when 3,200 applications concerning 31,000 people were filed, he said.

Altogether €250 million has been earmarked in the reserve of the Unemployment Insurance Fund for the payment of wage compensation. Officials at the fund could not say how long this funding will last.

The rate of registered unemployment in Estonia stood at 7.6 percent on Wednesday, compared with 4.7 percent at the same time a year ago.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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