Annual report of the
Employment Fund, 2020
Managing Director’s review
Despite the exceptional circumstances, we managed our main tasks well
The Employment Fund started the year 2020 with a good financial standing, as the Fund’s business cycle buffer was almost at its maximum allowed level and the Fund’s long-term loans had been paid off in the previous year. At the beginning of 2020, we successfully started utilising the income data reported in the national Incomes Register for the processing of adult education allowance applications. In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic lead to substantial changes in the functioning of societies around the world. Finland was no exception, and this was also reflected in the activities of the Employment Fund. We switched to working almost entirely remotely in mid-March. At the same time, our staff quickly adapted to working remotely and learned new ways of working.
Right from the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, it was clear that the precarious economic and employment situation would pose major challenges to the Fund’s finances and liquidity. In March, the Board of the Employment Fund called on the government of Finland to secure the Fund’s liquidity and the financing of unemployment allowances. Many different measures and successful cooperation with the government and financial institutions ensured that we were able to cover the significantly increased unemployment benefit costs and pay the necessary unemployment allowances. Securing funding for unemployment allowances was a particularly important step for us, as an unemployment allowance may be the only source of income for the people who receive it.
Key figures in 2020
Unemployment insurance contributions collected
Adult education benefits paid
Contributions to Kela for persons not covered by unemployment funds
Contributions from the pension cover of persons receiving earnings-related benefits
The figures in parentheses include the figures for 2019. The unemployment insurance contributions collected and the payments to unemployment funds also include the state contributions.
The popularity of adult education allowance grew in 2020
The popularity of adult education allowance continued to grow in 2020. Last year, we paid a total of EUR 186.9 million in adult education allowances to 27,066 adult students, compared to 25,701 in 2019. The steady growth shows that year by year, there is a growing need to support adults in developing their professional ability and updating their competences.
The Employment Fund secured the financing of unemployment allowance contributions and successfully switched to working remotely
The increase in unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the increasing number of layoffs in particular, led to a sudden and significant increase in our unemployment insurance expenditure. We secured the payment of allowances, for example, by issuing bonds and making use of the business cycle buffer and loan facilities. Our entire staff switched to working remotely in mid-March.
The adult education allowance was reformed – the Employment Fund introduced a new online service and processing system
The aim of the adult education allowance reform, which entered into force on 1 August 2020, was to facilitate the combining of study and work. The reform meant changes to the employee’s adult education allowance application process, the amount of the allowance, the accumulation of months towards the maximum allowance period, and the study progress requirements. We prepared for these changes, for example, by introducing a new online service and processing system for allowance applications, as well as by automating the processing of payment applications.