TALLINN - A bill seeking to introduce flexible unemployment insurance benefits, which would link the length of the period during which the benefit is paid to the situation of the economy and labor market, passed third reading in the Estonian parliament on Wednesday.
Currently, the length of the period during which the unemployment insurance benefit is paid, both during economic recession and growth, only depends on the number of the beneficiary's years of employment. Depending on the said number, the benefit is paid for either 180, 270 or 360 days. The system provides little flexibility and poor protection during economic recession and strong protection during an economic growth stage. If the economy is in neither a decline nor growth stage, the length of the period of benefit payment will be extended by 60 days for insured individuals.
In a poor economic situation with high unemployment rate, the period of benefit payment will automatically be extended by up to 120 days. For people with an unemployment insurance record of fewer than five years, the insurance period required for receiving the benefit will remain unchanged, the benefit will be paid for 180 calendar days and the benefit payment period will not be extended during a period with an ordinary-level unemployment rate. If the economic situation deteriorates, the benefit payment period will also be extended by 60 calendar days for these beneficiaries.
The bill was passed with 79 votes for and none against.