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Coronavirus and its effects on employees

23.03.2020

Coronavirus and its effects on employees

Exceptional circumstances prevail in Finland due to the coronavirus situation. Issues for employers include quarantine of employees, sick leave, remote working and possible layoffs and dismissals. What options do employers have in such an exceptional situation?

During the coronavirus epidemic, the employer follows sick leave regulations. Sick leave always requires approval from the employer.

The decision on quarantine (an infected person), isolation (a sick person) or absence from work to prevent the spread of the disease is made by the communicable disease doctor in the municipality or hospital district. A medical certificate must be submitted to your employer as soon as possible to confirm the absence. In order to compensate for the loss of earnings, the employee can apply for an infectious disease daily allowance from Kela.

Remote working may be, and often is, a workable solution for employers and employees if working remotely is possible.

As a result of a coronavirus, a company’s workforce need can be significantly reduced, for example due to a loss of customers. In this case, it may be necessary for employers to consider measures to reduce the workforce or other measures to overcome the crisis. The employer may be entitled to lay-offs under Chapter 5 of the Finnish Employment Contracts Act, following the co-determination procedure (when there are at least 20 employees) or the procedure under Chapter 5 of the Employment Contracts Act (under 20). In addition, lay-offs will be subject to a notice period of 14 days under the law or applicable collective agreement before the termination can be effected.

It is possible that the coronavirus will also have longer-term effects and wider effects on the business economy. Employers may even need to lay off workers for production and economic reasons.

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Markku Larsen

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