At Tuesday’s sitting, the Riigikogu supported with 69 votes in favour (3 abstentions) the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice to amend Acts to give members of the management board of a company entitlement to receive unemployment insurance benefit in the event of loss of job and income.
The Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise made a proposal to the Riigikogu to bring clause 6 (5) 4) of the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act in conjunction with clause 6 (1) 1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act into conformity with §§ 12, 31 and 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. The Social Affairs Committee will initiate the relevant Bill.
The Chancellor of Justice noted in her proposal that a person who has paid unemployment insurance premiums is generally entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit in the event of loss of income, but at present this entitlement does not extend to persons who are members of the management board of a company.
The Chancellor of Justice said that this concerns in particular the people who have a company where they are a member of the management board, besides a salaried job. “If a person loses his or her salaried job for example due to redundancy then, merely due to the fact that he or she is listed as a member of the management board in his or her passive private limited company, he or she does not receive unemployment insurance benefit although unemployment insurance premiums have been paid for him or her during the required period of time. Such a treatment is unequal treatment without a reasonable or relevant justification in terms of the Constitution compared to all others for whom the unemployment insurance premium has been paid,” Ülle Madise said.
In the opinion of the Chancellor of Justice, abuse of the unemployment insurance scheme is not likely, because the potential good – unemployment insurance benefit – does not outweigh the costs and efforts necessary for abuse. “Too much must be paid to benefit from the system. In that sense it is a very well built system,” Madise said.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Kalle Laanet said that the Riigikogu should think of a mechanism for precluding major abuses, but at the same establish a reasonable regulation. “It was noted in the Constitutional Committee that, since the problem concerns a larger number of groups, the issue could be viewed more widely in the development of the new regulation,” Laanet said.
In the opinion of the Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee Aivar Kokk, in the proceedings on the Bill, possibilities of supporting sole proprietors should be reviewed, and they should be paid unemployment insurance benefit. “If a person pays the unemployment insurance premium, he or she is entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit. If the person does not pay it, it is impossible to receive the benefit,” Kokk explained.
Ivari Padar and Madis Lauri who took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate supported the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice. Monika Haukanõmm agreed to the proposal of the Chancellor of Justice, but she was critical of the proposal of the Minister of Justice to establish a new allowance for members of the management board of a starting company that would be paid during six months instead of the unemployment allowance and the unemployment insurance benefit.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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