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Gov't to extend unemployment benefit to cover entrepreneurs

The right to apply for unemployment benefits will extend to everyone running a business.

Handwritten sign on a restaurant closed due to the exceptional circumstances. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Government plans to amend existing legislation to to allow entrepreneurs whose businesses have been adversely affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak to apply for unemployment benefits.

However business people who want to receive the benefit retroactively must apply for it by 15 April. If they send in claims after that date the benefit will only take effect from the application date.

The government's legislative proposal seeks to extend the right to the unemployment benefit to all entrepreneurs, including those who have employees on the payroll. The current system requires business people to shut down their companies if they want to draw on unemployment benefits.

However under the proposed new rules they would not need to close up shop to receive the benefit and they would also be entitled to income from ongoing operations without losing the entire benefit.

Government has earmarked 160 million euros for the expansion of the unemployment benefit scheme, based on the assumption that 55,000 entrepreneurs will apply for support.

The administration hopes that the legislative amendment will take effect as quickly as possible, although it will only be in force until the end of June.

Government also rolled out another financial package designed to ensure that entrepreneurs can keep their businesses running during the pandemic.

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