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Guidelines for freelancers in the event of a Covid-19 epidemic

  • How to apply for sickness allowance?

  • What if your gig gets cancelled?

We have compiled a guide for freelancers in case of a Corona virus epidemic in the country.

How should I apply for sickness allowance or sickness allowance due to a communicable disease?

  1. Get a medical certificate

The first nine days are paid by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) under the provisions of the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act (the YEL Act), for which you need at least a medical certificate confirming your work incapacity issued by a registered nurse or public health nurse. For sickness allowance proper, the first 60 days of work incapacity usually requires at least a doctor’s ‘A’ certificate, followed by the more expansive ‘B’ certificate.

  1. Complete the form on the Kela website

You can apply for sickness allowance online on the Kela website. Instructions for completing the application form are here.

The same form also applies to the contagious disease daily allowance, for example concerning Covid-19. This can be obtained in the event of quarantine and isolation. You can log on to the Kela e-service using your online banking ID or mobile ID.

The application must be accompanied by a medical certificate or a quarantine order and other necessary attachments, which you can send e.g. by taking a photo with your smartphone.Freelancers cannot put themselves quarantine, which requires a decision by a municipal or district physician responsible for contagious diseases.

  1. Bear in mind the waiting period

There is now a one-day waiting period for people insured under YEL. Weekdays mean Mondays to Saturdays, not counting public holidays. If you do not have YEL insurance cover the waiting period includes the day of sickness and the subsequent nine working days, as is the case for salaried employees.

The daily sickness allowance for people affected by contagious diseases does not include a waiting period and covers loss of earnings one hundred per cent.

  1. How to calculate daily sickness allowance

At present, daily sickness allowance for self-employed people is determined solely by the so-called annual income of the entrepreneur’s pension insurance, meaning earnings that come under YEL.

For the first nine days, the amount of the YEL insured daily allowance is based on YEL income only. After that, the annual income from non-business activities is also taken into account. Annual income includes salary income, insurance salary, earnings that come under YEL and MYEL, certain benefits, and certain compensation for loss of earnings. (Mela is the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution of Finland and provides pension cover for recipients of scientific or artistic grants and scholarships, in addition to people working in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry).

You can calculate the amount of sickness allowance using the Kela calculator.

You may not work during the sickness allowance period. You can ask your doctor The about the possibility of receiving partial sickness allowance if your state of health permits working.

  1. Apply within two months

You must apply for sickness benefit within two months of the onset of work incapacity due to sickness.

 

Can a freelancer receive unemployment benefits due to work lost because of the Covid-19 situation?

Yes, in some cases. A part-time entrepreneur is entitled to a daily allowance for employment lost employment due to the Corona virus. To be eligible for a full-time allowance, a full-time self-employed person must be a member of an unemployment fund for self-employed.

Loss of earnings due to absenteeism, isolation and quarantine under the Communicable Diseases Act is compensated by an infectious daily subsistence allowance. If you receive a daily sickness allowance for people affected by contagious diseases in the above situations, it will be deducted from your earnings-related allowance.

 

A client cancels a gig just to be on the safe side without any official directive, so I lose the assignment: Will I get paid? How will I manage?

The starting point is that a binding agreement cannot be canceled without force majeure. Force majeure, or unforseen circumstances, means the affected party may be relieved in whole or in part of their obligation to perform for the duration of the impediments to performance. Contact the union if a dispute arises with the client over the cancellation of work and the payment of compensation.

The industry standard commercial practice agreement on freelance work concluded with the employers association assumes that if the buyer or author withdraws or suspends an assignment for reasons beyond the control of the other party, the innocent party to the cancellation or suspension is entitled to reimbursement of costs incurred and compensation up to an agreed / reasonable fee. In the opinion of the UJF, this means that in principle the buyer has to compensate for the cancellation of a gig.

Freelance agreements in the media industry do not typically include force majeure provisions, but it is possible that some buyers use them. The conditions have to be checked on a case by case basis. The Corona virus does not by itself constitute force majeure based on its existence, rather the appealing party must be able to demonstrate in a concrete way in which the virus has prevented the implementation of a work agreement.

 

How to manage sickness allowance invoicing through cooperatives?

Sickness allowance compensates for loss of earnings caused by work incapacity of less than one year. Information on this can be found on the Kela website.

A medical certificate is required for sickness allowance. A medical certificate can usually receive up to 60 working days of sickness benefit. Thereafter, a B medical certificate or other disability statement is required. Further clarifications may be requested earlier.

Sickness allowance is paid after the deductible period. The deductible period is usually the day of illness and the following 9 working days. The amount of sickness allowance is fully explained on Kela’s website (use above link).

 

I work infrequently. What should I do if I get sick?

If you work from time to time while studying or are unemployed and you are ordered to be absent from work due to an infectious disease, you may be entitled to sickness allowance. Again, you can find more information on the Kela website.