Welfare Ministry might propose revising duration of unemployment benefits in view of Covid-19 crisis

  • 2020-03-24
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Although at the beginning of this year the time period jobless people in Latvia can receive unemployment benefits was shortened by a month, the Welfare Ministry might soon propose revising the duration of unemployment benefits for certain groups in view of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Welfare Minister Ramona Petravica (KPV LV) told journalists today. 

Under the latest amendments to the unemployment law, the duration of unemployment benefits has been reduced from nine to eight calendar months. The size of unemployment benefits was also slashed, reducing the benefit for the third month from 100 percent to 75 percent, for the fifth and sixth month from 75 percent to 50 percent and for the seventh and eighth month from 50 percent to 45 percent. 

However, the minister admitted today that the situation has radically changed and she had not wanted to start a discussion on a possible extension of the duration of the unemployment benefits, but the ministry's state secretary Ingus Alliks added that in "some cases it might be necessary to extend the duration of unemployment benefits".

Petravica said that the social budget has accumulated over EUR 1 billion, but in order not overstretch the budget, employers are being urged to carefully assess their layoff plans. The social security budget is responding to the current emergency very precisely, but as Alliks said, the special budget's future depends on the ability of the Latvian economy to recover after the crisis. 

Businesses in Latvia are reprofiling and starting to produce goods urgently needed in the current situation, the minister said, adding that everyone is currently weighing their options for further work and considering doing something else. 

As reported,  due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 14 companies in Latvia have announced collective redundancies, which will result in almost 3,000 employees being laid off, Welfare Minister Ramona Petravica (KPV LV) said in a press conference today.

The minister underscored that it is hard to predict how the number of unemployed will grow due to the pandemic.

She said that NVA so far has received information from 14 companies about collective redundancies that will affect 2,884 employees.

The minister said that the number of jobless people in Latvia has risen by 1,200 people since early March.

The collective redundancies have been announced by businesses working in transport and warehousing, the hospitality and food services sector, as well as the gambling sector.

Petravica said that employers should carefully assess a possibility to keep employees and consider support opportunities offered by the state in the sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.