On 8 December 2021, the Finnish Government presented to the Parliament a proposal on a temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act. As a result, the salary payment of unvaccinated health and social services employees may be stopped. In such a situation, the employees will not get any unemployment benefit either.
The aim is to adopt the temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act as soon as possible. The amendment concerns health and social services employees and students working in close contact with clients and patients who belong to coronavirus at-risk group 1.
As a rule, those who work in close contact to people belonging to at-risk groups must have protection against the COVID-19 disease, either from vaccination or from being ill with COVID-19 no more than six months previously (infection certified in a laboratory). Only for a special reason can employers use employees who are not protected against the disease. These reasons are: Shortage of employees who fulfil the vaccination protection requirements, employee’s allergy to the vaccine, or another feature preventing an employee from taking the vaccine.
If an employee refuses to tell whether they have taken the vaccine or been infected with the virus within six months, the employer can transfer the employee to other duties.
If the employer has no other duties to offer the unvaccinated employee, the employee’s salary payment will be stopped. Because the employee has caused the situation, they will also not have any right to unemployment benefit.
The employee’s work will cease until they have the necessary protection from vaccination, or until the employer has other duties to offer the employee.
After the law has entered into force, the employees referred to by the provision have 30 days to get the necessary coronavirus vaccinations. Transfer to other duties or stoppage of salary payment would only be possible after this transition period.
JHL encourages everyone whose coronavirus vaccination protection is not up to date to take care of the matter as soon as possible. Only then can those who work for employers providing health and social services avoid the situation where the employer has no other duties to offer them, and, in the worst case, their salary payment will be stopped.