20.1.2022 11:03

Suomen Yrittäjät welcomes new Covid supports but says more still needed

Suomen Yrittäjät welcomes the package of Covid business support measures announced on Friday 14 January, saying it is badly needed. However, SY says that the serious situation requires additional action in the areas of codetermination negotiations and lay-off processes.

Early on the evening of Friday 14 January, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment Mika Lintilä(Centre Party), Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (SDP) and Hanna Sarkkinen (Left League) held a press conference about the decisions of the government’s Covid ministerial group.

The entrepreneurs’ labour market support, which was withdrawn at the end of last November, is being reintroduced for January and February 2022.

In addition, the government is preparing closure compensation for businesses that are forced to close. Premises forced to close by law or order of a government agency, such as sport and exercise premises, gyms, spas and indoor playrooms, would be eligible for the compensation.

A sixth round of Business Cost Support is also being prepared. Business Cost Support VI applies, as in the previous round, only to companies affected by restrictions. 

Minister Lintilä estimated the total size of the support package at between €200 and €250 million depending on whether restaurants are closed. The compensations and supports for closures and restrictions will be paid for the period up to the end of February.

Support for sporting and cultural events cancelled due to restrictions is being drawn up. This is for events that the closure compensation and Business Cost Support do not cover. 

The compensations and supports for closures and restrictions will be paid for the period up to the end of February.

Support for art, culture and creative sector professionals during the closure period is also being planned.

The supports are being prepared for the first supplementary budget proposal of the year, which is due to be brought to Parliament at the start of February.

“Excessively long codetermination and lay-off processes should be shortened.”

Mikael Pentikäinen

Suomen Yrittäjät says that the government should give businesses hit by restrictions the chance to survive this difficult situation. 

“When trading is severely restricted at short notice, a business should be given tools to adjust to the situation,” Suomen Yrittäjät CEO and President Mikael Pentikäinen says.

“The closure compensation, Business Cost Support, entrepreneurs’ labour market support and the Tax Administration’s flexibility are very necessary. We are grateful for them. However, they are not enough. In addition, excessively long codetermination and lay-off processes should be shortened. When trade unions do not do it, the government should do it through legislation,” Pentikäinen adds.

Mika Kuismanen, Vice President Economics and Chief Economist at Suomen Yrittäjät, says many businesses have used up their financial cushion and many are facing an empty cashbox.

“What is positive is that action has finally been taken. It is important for closure compensation to be available to all businesses, regardless of sector,” Kuismanen says.

“We also welcome the start of preparation of Business Cost Support VI, which is aimed at helping a lot of businesses which have suffered from restrictions,” Kuismanen says.

Suomen Yrittäjät demands the government quickly reduces the waiting period for sickness benefit.

“They say the Covid situation has never been worse than now. When restrictions are heightened, tools to survive should also be provided, and all the tried and tested methods for keeping businesses open should be used to stop them going under,” Pentikäinen says.

“I also call on landlords, banks and employment pension providers to be flexible with businesses who are now hit hard by restrictions.

Original Finnish article amended on 15 January 2022 at 00.01: Incorrect information about payment of entrepreneurs’ labour market support for December 2021 removed.