Finland’s Social Insurance Institution (Kela) will start paying a new benefit in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Those eligible for the temporary benefit include parents or guardians who have had to take unpaid leave from work in order to look after children at home since schools closed in mid-March, Kela said on Monday.
The support will also be available to people who have had quarantine-like conditions imposed on them when returning from overseas.
Kela is now accepting applications for the "epidemic benefit", which is also available retroactively. It will be paid for the duration of the government’s state of emergency, which currently covers the period 16 March – 13 May. If the state of emergency is lifted earlier, benefit payments will be cut off.
A parent or guardian with permanent residency in Finland is eligible if they have taken time off work to care for a child or children who are in early childhood education, pre-school education, grades 1-3 of basic education or pre-primary education. Others may be eligible based on special needs or extended compulsory education.
Benefit not income-based
The benefit rate is 28.94 euros per weekday, or 723.50 euros per month (equivalent to 25 days). The applicants’ income or number of children do not affect the size of the payments. Only one person per household may draw the benefit at a time.
Furloughed workers and the unemployed are not eligible, nor are those on maternity, paternity, parental or child care leave.
An application must include a statement from one’s employer certifying that the worker is or was on unpaid leave due to the Covid-19 epidemic.