JOBLESS BENEFITS DELAYED IN FINLAND DUE TO COVID
Five of Finland’s largest unemployment funds say that a deluge of applications for earnings-based unemployment benefits caused by the Covid-19 crisis has caused major backlogs processing claims. In many instances, applicants had to wait have much longer than the 30 days the law stipulates for a decision. In some cases, the waiting time lasts 56 days, the Finnish Yle news agency reported late b July 22, 2020.
Finland’s unemployment funds, which are managed by labor unions, are supervised by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), Office manager Marko Aarnio said that many funds have been exceeding the statutory 30-limit for processing jobless claims.
The authority is not considering imposing any sanctions for the delays, but is monitoring the funds as they report on their activities. "Sanctions will not resolve this crisis. The situation is terrible, given that for years the processing time has been about 10 days and suddenly the number of applications has increased by a factor of 10 in one month," Aarnio added.
The KOKO employment fund, which has around 200,000 members in senior positions, said that it has taken up to 46 days to clear unemployment benefit claims. Director Outi Mäki said that for ongoing claims which have to be filed on a monthly basis after the initial application, the processing time is at most five days. "Processing times have lengthened considerably during spring and summer. Before the coronavirus situation initial applications were processed in about one week," she noted.