Unemployment fund has paid €24.1 million in salary compensation for March

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The Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) office on Tartu's Vaksali Street, Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

As of Sunday, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) had paid more than €24.1 million in salary compensation to companies whose activities have suffered from the restrictions imposed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

In total, the fund has paid salary compensation to 30,948 employees, at 3,809 companies and institutions.

Hansaliin, part of shipping line Tallink Grupp, has received the biggest sum of salary compensation for the month of March, and the total cost of its compensation, together with the social tax paid by the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the employer's unemployment insurance contribution paid from the gross sum, came to €762,400. A total of 714 employees received compensation, according to statistics published by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

In addition, the recipients of the largest sums of compensation also included OÜ HT Laevateenindus, also part of Tallink Grupp, whose total cost of compensation was €548,190, and the Estonian National Opera (Rahvusooper), which was paid €442,900 in compensation. The number of beneficiaries in these companies stood at 417 and 387, respectively.

By area of activity, the largest recipient of compensation was accommodation and catering, where compensation was granted to 8,532 employees at 901 institutions, to the total amount of approximately €5.7 million.

Among the largest other recipients were wholesale and retail trade, which also includes the repair of motor vehicles and bicycles, where compensation was granted to 818 institutions with 7,915 recipients in the total amount of close to €5.7 million.

In addition, approximately €3.2 million in wage compensation was awarded to the arts, entertainment and leisure sectors. A total of 405 institutions with 3,590 people received compensation.

Compensation can be applied for by an employer whose turnover or income in the month for which the compensation is sought has decreased by at least 50 percent compared to the period from December 2019 to February 2020 or the average turnover in the second half of 2020.

Therefore, companies that started operation in 2020 also have the opportunity to receive assistance. It is important that no compulsory dissolution, liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated against the company and that the company has no tax liabilities or they have been deferred.

The benefit is paid to an employee with an employment contract who has not been provided with work in the agreed amount or whose salary has been reduced. Compensation can be applied for an employee whose employment start date with the employer is January 1, 2021, at the latest. An employee for whom benefits have been claimed may not be dismissed during the same or the following two months

The Unemployment Insurance Fund is reimbursing the employee 60 percent of their average monthly salary in one month, the data come from the Tax and Customs Board. The maximum amount of compensation per employee is €1,000 per month gross. In addition to the contribution of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the employer is to pay its employee at least €200 gross. The employer must pay its share before applying for compensation.

Self-employed persons, whose income from entrepreneurship in 2020 was 50 percent lower than in 2019, will also receive support. The amount of self-employment support is €584 per month.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund started accepting applications on April 1. Payments are made every working day. Applications for compensation for March salary can be submitted until the end of April. Applications for April will then be accepted.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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