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Kela: Gov't to extend entrepreneurs' jobless benefit to end of year

The scheme was extended to cover sole traders struggling during the pandemic but is due to expire at the end of June.

Kelan lippu liehuu tuulessa
Image: Marko Väänänen / Yle
Yle News

Government is planning to extend coverage of entrepreneurs under the unemployment benefits scheme to the end of the year, Yle News' All Points North podcast has learned.

Government announced in early April that entrepreneurs and freelancers whose incomes had dried up because of the coronavirus crisis would be entitled to apply for unemployment benefits to help tide them over. However that scheme is due to expire at the end of June.

Legal counsel at Social Insurance Institution Kela, Teija Hautera, told All Points North that there is "a good chance" that self-employed people will be able to continue claiming the unemployment benefit until the end of the year.

"A government proposal is in Parliament and it proposes that the benefit will be granted until the end of the year. It will most likely be passed in the days ahead but this is difficult to say with any certainty."

"The government is aware that the previous law [allowing entrepreneurs to claim unemployment benefits] will expire at the end of June," she added.

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

Hautera noted that about 32,000 entrepreneurs had received the benefit in May. The agency reported that the number of recipients in April was nearly 8,500 (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (content in Finnish).

Kela noted that the rejection rate among entrepreneurs applying for the benefit had been very low.

According to the rules, solo entrepreneurs and freelancers 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.

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