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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case LV-2020-16/1337 Updated – measures in Latvia

Extension of unemployment benefits to self-employed

Izmaiņas bezdarba likumdošanā

Country Latvia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 18 April 2020 – 31 December 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Kriss Karnitis (EPC) and Eurofound
Case created 28 October 2020 (updated 22 January 2021)

Background information

On 18 April 2020 additional regulations regarding unemployed have been amended to the legislation. Amendments were prepared by the Ministry of Welfare with a goal to ease up the acquisition of unemployment status and to maintain it while involved in temporary work. The Ministry claims that the changes are necessary to mitigate the consequences of the deteriorating economic situation and to reduce the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Law on Support for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment and the law On Unemployment Insurance have been amended.

Content of measure

The amendment to the Law on Support for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment expands the range of persons who are eligible to receive status of unemployed person. The amendments stipulate that until 31 December 2020, the owner of a micro-enterprise within the meaning of the Microenterprise Tax Law, if the micro-enterprise has no turnover will also have the right to obtain unemployment status. The norm includes also self-employed with no income.

The other amendments to the same law stipulate that until 31 December 2020, a person maintain the unemployment status if a person is employed not more than twice in a 12-month period for a total period not exceeding 120 days. Until now, the law has allowed an unemployed person to become temporarily employed or self-employed for a period of up to 60 days in a 12-month period.

Amendments on 24 April 2020 introduced additional “unemployment assistance benefit”. If the period of unemployment benefit ends after 12 March 2020, and the person is still unemployed, the additional benefit is available for the period of four months in the amount of €180. The norm is in force till 31 December 2020.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

23 December 2020

The measure is extended until 31 December 2021.

Use of measure

So far there is no information on how many unemployed have used the opportunity to work while maintaining status of unemployed.

According to the data from the State Social Insurance agency, in May 901 people received unemployment assistance benefit, in June 2018 people, in July 3,140 people, in August 4,247 people, and in September 4,840 people.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Self-employed
Unemployed
Solo-self-employed
One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Social partners participate in discussions on measures for the prevention and suppression the spread of COVID-19 and on crisis impact on economy. However specific opinions of social partners regarding this specific measure are not published.

Views and reactions

There are no specific views regarding this measure. Regarding general unemployment regulations, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, the peak level trade union organisation on 31 March 2020 in a letter to the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers called for amendments to the Law “On Unemployment Insurance”, envisaging to increase the duration of the payment of unemployment benefit from 8 months to 12 months, as well as to increase the amount of unemployment benefit by determining that the threshold for gradual reduction of unemployment benefit is not 2 months, but 4 months. Currently such amendments has not been done.

Sources

  • 31 March 2020: In a letter to the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers, LBAS calls for an increase in unemployment benefits (arodbiedribas.lv)
  • 18 April 2020: Easier conditions for the unemployed during the crisis (lvportals.lv)
  • 15 June 2020: Benefits in the Covid-19 crisis and after an emergency (lvportals.lv)
  • 28 October 2020: The Law on Support for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment (likumi.lv)
  • 28 October 2020: The Law On Unemployment Insurance (likumi.lv)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Extension of unemployment benefits to self-employed , case LV-2020-16/1337 (measures in Latvia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.