FINLAND – A new Employment Accident and Occupational Disease Act proposed to become effective as of 1.1.2016
The Parliament on Finland on 6.3.2015 has accepted in second hearing the proposal to adopt a new mandatory Employment Accident and Occupational Disease Act (the ”new Act”). The new Act shall merge the current Finnish Employment Accidents Act (648/1948), Occupational Disease Act (1343/1988) and Social Insurance National Rehabilitation Benefits and Rehabilitation Compensation Act (566/2005).
The statutory insurance regime is the oldest statutory part of Finnish social security. This regime is based on employees’ right to get compensated for loss of earnings incurred by accident injuries at work or an occupational disease and employers’ obligation to insure their employees for such injuries. In case the employer does not comply with the statutory obligation to take out the accident insurance policy, the Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions pays applicable accident compensations.
The new Act is proposed to become effective as of 1.1.2016 and shall apply to accidents occurred during employment on 1.1.2016 or thereafter.
Applicability of the proposed new Act
The purpose of the statutory accident insurance has been to provide security for wage earners and Government and municipality officials, however, currently in practice groups entitled to compensation under statutory accident insurance are wider, including i.e., trainees, artists and researchers receiving a grant or scholarship as well as persons in adult labour market training. Due to this inconsistent legal praxis development, the new Act’s scope is determined in more detail to secure its accurate and uniform application.
The new Act also contains more detailed definitions of such terms like employment, entrepreneurship and compensable accidents. Further to this, the new Act contains new definitions to employment accidents, which occur at work place, work place area or outside the work place area as well as to accidents that occur during training period of the employee.
Changes directly affecting employers
Obligation to take out an insurance policy
Currently an employer is under obligation to take out a statutory accident insurance for employees if work provided by the employer exceeds 12 days during a calendar year. Under the proposed new Act requirement for the employer to insure employees is based on paid salaries during a calendar year, the proposed amount is EUR 1.200.
Neglect of duty to insure employees
In case the employer is under obligation to insure employees under the new Act but neglects this obligation, in such case negligence fee is determined in accordance with the new Act. Further to this, the employer can be ordered to pay fees which equals to the unpaid insurance payments from the uninsured period. As such the sanction regime of the new Act shall include more remedies for the authorities compared to the current Act.
Term for submission of an accident report
Under the new Act the employer shall have obligation to submit an accident report to an insurance company without delay, however, no later than within 10 business days after the employer has received information about the occurrence of the employees accident.
Amendments to Finnish Penal Code (39/1889)
The Governmental Decree includes proposal to amendment the Finnish Penal Code section 29. In the section 29 is proposed a new paragraph regarding accident insurance payment fraud. The penalty under this section shall be fine or imprisonment of no more than 1 year.
Under the current Accident Insurance Act provisions in case the employer breaches its obligations under the current Act is punishable by a fine.
Transferring of the penal regulations to the Penal Code and at the same time severing the penalty is justified in the proposal arguing that the society as a whole disproves actions breaching statutory requirements enacted in the new Act. Further, it is argued that the new Penal Code section would diminish parallel economy.
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