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Instructions and information about the impacts of the coronavirus for our customers

25.03.2020
corona
insurance
pension security
rehabilitation
customer service
entrepreneur
real estate
News

The global coronavirus epidemic has placed companies and society on the whole in an exceptional situation. We have compiled up-to-date information about the impacts of the coronavirus in this information package for Varma’s customers.

Updated on 25 March at 10:20 a.m.

Our Insurance Services customer service has become congested due to the need for advice concerning the coronavirus situation. We are asking you to primarily use our eServices to take care of all changes relating to insurance and payments.

Our other customer services are operating in the normal way.

Earnings-related pension (TyEL) contributions

I have difficulties paying the TyEL contributions on time. What can I do?

As our TyEL customer, you have the usual opportunity for a two-month term of payment for TyEL contributions. With the new additional term of payment, you can request a maximum of additional three months’ term of payment for contributions based on wages paid in February–May. For example, you can postpone the due date for wages paid in March until the end of August.

Only the current 2% insurance contribution interest rate but no penalty interest will be charged for the term of payment.

A form for requesting additional term of payment relating to the coronavirus situation has been added to the TyEL invoices page of our eServices.

Navigation instructions: Log into our eServices – click TyEL-vakuutus (TyeEL insurance) – click Laskut TyEL-maksuista (Invoices of TyEL contributions) – Select the insurance concerned by the request – click the Korona-maksuaika (Corona term of payment) tab – Select the term of payment option that best suits you – Submit the request.

I have difficulties paying the YEL contributions on time. What can I do?

1. As our Self-employed Persons’ Pension (YEL) customer, you can request 3 months of additional term of payment for all instalments with a due date between 20 April and 30 June 2020. Only the current 2% insurance contribution interest rate but no penalty interest will be charged for the term of payment. We have already automatically postponed the due date of all YEL invoices with the due date of 20 March by one month.

2. If you want a shorter additional term of payment, call our customer service Mon–Fri, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the number 010 192 100 (+358 10 192 100 when calling from abroad). We are also available via chat.

3. If the preconditions are met, you can use the flexibility option and pay a 10–20% lower insurance contribution. The flexibility option does not affect the daily allowances granted by KELA. Read more about flexibility in YEL contributions (PDF). Apply for the flexibility option on Varma’s eServices.

4. You can request an amendment to the due months of contribution under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act, as long as one-half of the YEL contributions for the year fall due before 1 August 2020.

The YEL invoices page in our eServices now has a request for additional term of payment related to the coronavirus.

Navigation instructions: Log in to our eServices – click on YEL insurance – click on YEL contributions, certificates and request for additional term of payment – click on the ‘Corona term of payment’ tab – Select the most suitable term of payment option for you – Send the request.

Will any reductions be made in TyEL insurance contributions? 

Reductions will be made in TyEL contributions. On 20 March 2020, the Finnish Government approved the proposal of the labour market organisations on a temporary reduction of private-sector employers’ pension insurance contributions by 2.6 percentage points due to the corona situation. Preparations concerning the matter moved forward last week under the direction of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The reduction of the TyEL contribution will most likely take place as of the start of May and it will be in force until the end of 2020. 

The change would reduce the employers’ share of the earnings-related pension insurance contribution. The size of the reduction would be 2.6 per cent for payroll subject to TyEL paid between May and December. It does not impact the size of the employee’s share. 

The temporary reduction will be automatically taken into account in insurance contribution invoices based on salaries and wages paid in May and thereafter. 

The earnings-related pension system’s EMU buffer will be used to reduce the contribution. The buffer will be rebuilt by raising the employer’s contribution between 2022 and 2025 so that the temporary reduction’s impact will be fully compensated for. 

The temporary reduction of the contribution requires a legal amendment and the drafting of the amendment is underway. 

My business is suffering and I work less. What should I do?

If the decrease in business activity is permanent or it will be considerable for a long time, you can adjust the confirmed income of your YEL insurance. In this case, the contribution under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act will be lower as well. You can revise your confirmed income conveniently in our eServices.

Please note that the lower confirmed income can decrease the daily allowances granted by KELA later if you are quarantined or fall ill. It can also affect your right to unemployment security. Eligibility for unemployment allowance requires the self-employed person's confirmed income to be a minimum of EUR 13,076. If you are a member of the SYT unemployment fund for the self-employed, remember to also inform them of the adjustment of your confirmed income.

My business operations have been suspended and I do not know about their future. What should I do about my YEL insurance?

When your work as a self-employed person is suspended for a long time or there will be very little work for the time being, your YEL insurance can be terminated. If necessary, YEL insurance can be terminated retroactively. The termination of YEL also expires the self-employed person’s accident insurance. Remember to also inform your accident insurance company of the termination of YEL insurance.

The last date of validity of the insurance policy is your last day at work. Submit your request for termination via our eServices.

Will there be amendments to self-employed persons’ unemployment security and insurance?

On Friday 20 March 2020, the Government decided to make access to unemployment security easier for self-employed persons, regardless of the company form. The amendment is temporary, and it is intended to secure the livelihood of entrepreneurs who lose their income during the coronavirus crisis.

If the prerequisites of business are temporarily weakened due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entrepreneurial activity can be considered to be secondary entrepreneurial activity in terms of providing employment. A person is entitled to unemployment benefits on account of secondary entrepreneurial activities. A self-employed person who has been full-time employed under normal conditions would therefore not need to terminate entrepreneurial activity and their YEL insurance to receive unemployment benefits.

The change does not make a difference between entrepreneurial activities carried out under different company forms, which ensures the equality of self-employed persons in the exceptional circumstances. The self-employed person’s own notification of reduced entrepreneurial activity would suffice.

The amendment to the Unemployment Security Act is temporary. The amendment is being prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. We will provide additional information about this immediately once the details are confirmed.

I am a Palkka.fi customer, can I get additional term of payment due to the coronavirus situation?

If you use the Palkka.fi service for employer contributions, you can apply for a longer term of payment by selecting Työeläkevakuutusyhtiön lähettämä lasku (Invoice sent by the employment pension insurance company). The option can be found in Palkka.fi under employer data. The option is only available in the corporate user interface, i.e. it requires a Business ID.

Illness and quarantine

What should I do if I am quarantined?

Quarantine refers to a situation in which a self-employed person has been ordered to be absent from work to prevent the spreading of an infectious disease, such as the coronavirus. The daily allowance pursuant to the Communicable Diseases Act is also paid to the guardian of a child aged under 16 if the child has been guaranteed and the self-employed person is not able to carry out entrepreneurial activities. Kela grants a daily allowance pursuant to the Communicable Diseases Act to a self-employed person who has been quarantined by decision of a physician. The amount of the allowance is based on the confirmed YEL income. Read more about the communicable disease allowance on Kela’s website.

What should I do if I fall ill with the coronavirus?

A self-employed person who has fallen ill with the coronavirus can apply for sickness allowance for the period during which they are prevented from carrying out entrepreneurial activities from Kela. Being granted sickness allowance always requires a disease confirmed with a medical certificate. Read more about sickness allowance on Kela’s website.

How is the amount of a self-employed person’s sickness allowance determined?

The amount of a self-employed person’s sickness allowance is based on the confirmed YEL income, and it is calculated over the period of 12 months preceding the calendar month before the commencement of the right to the allowance. A last-minute increase in the confirmed income therefore primarily has no impact on the amount of the allowance. Changes not related to entrepreneurial activities, such as a virus epidemic, cannot be grounds for increasing the confirmed income. Read more about sickness allowance on Kela’s website.

Can I be compensated for lost income?

The measures taken by the Finnish Government to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus have impacts on the lives of almost everyone in Finland. For example, the Government recommends avoiding unnecessarily spending time in public places and that companies close down sports and leisure facilities. Unfortunately, the measures will mean loss of income for many entrepreneurs, and livelihood can be very hard to come by during the next couple of months.

However, this is not loss of income due to quarantine or falling ill. As a rule, it also is not a binding order issued by an authority that directly concerns the insured business activity or property in which an event is held. That would be the case e.g. if the authorities prohibited the use of a specific property to prevent a communicable disease from spreading.

Usually, a binding order issued by the authorities is a prerequisite for a non-life insurance company to reimburse loss of income due to the suspension of business activities. The extent of the insurance coverage is also decisive. You can ask your own non-life insurance company about the extent of your non-life insurance coverage and any right to indemnities.

Pension application processing and payment of pensions

Pension and rehabilitation applications will be processed and pensions paid in the normal manner despite coronavirus.

Private sectors’ earnings-related pensions are currently primarily paid through pension contribution charged to those employed. If the epidemic results in significant layoffs or dismissals, the earnings-related pension contributions collected may be lower than estimated. In such a situation, the buffer funds of the pension system would be used more.

Rehabilitation and cash rehabilitation benefit about to expire

What should I do if my rehabilitation programme is suspended or it is prevented from beginning?

Please contact our rehabilitation services if

  • your rehabilitation programme (work trial, job coaching, training) has begun and is suspended due to quarantine, layoff or need to care for a child due to the closure of schools and day care centres for over a month or is completely aborted
  • you cannot start your rehabilitation programme
  • your studies or apprenticeship training are completely interrupted or
  • your graduation is at risk of postponing due to coronavirus.

You can easily get in touch with our rehabilitation specialist via our eServices: Varma.fi > Log in > Messages and attachments.

What should I do if my cash rehabilitation benefit is about to expire and I am having problems with getting a new Medical Statement B due to the coronavirus?

Please contact Varma well in advance of the expiry of the cash rehabilitation benefit if it is not possible to obtain a Medical Statement B due to the exceptional circumstances.

You can easily get in touch with us via our eService: Varma.fi > Log in > Messages and attachments.

You can contact us in all insurance, pension and rehabilitation matters by phone on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm by calling 010 192 100 (when calling from outside Finland +358 10 192 100).

Read more in the separate news release.

Lessees

Varma’s real estate services serve their tenants in the normal way by telephone and e-mail. In case of any questions relating to premises, please get in touch with your contact person at Varma properties.

In matters relating to Varma’s rental flats, Newsec Kodisto is at your service. For contact details and additional information, please visit the Newsec website.

As the owner of properties, Varma wants to support those premises lessees whose business operations are particularly affected by the exceptional situation. Varma has been in touch with these lessees.

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