Occupational accidents and occupational diseases
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for developing and preparing the legislation concerning insurance against occupational accidents and diseases.
The workers’ compensation insurance system is based on the Workers’ Compensation Act (459/2015). The Act defines which claim events are compensable, for example occupational accidents and diseases. It also lays down provisions on benefits to be paid from the insurance against occupational accidents and diseases, on the implementation of the system, and on the pricing principles of the insurance
Employers shall insure their employees against occupational accidents or occupational diseases. The obligation to insure arises when the employer pays or has agreed to pay a salary that exceeds EUR 1,300 for the work commissioned in a calendar year.
The central government has no insurance obligation. Compensations for occupational accidents or diseases resulting from central government work are handled by the Treasury that pays the compensation from central government funds. The compensations are defined by Act 459/2015 (In Finnish: työtapaturma- ja ammattitautilaki.) An unofficial translation of the Act under the name Workers’ Compensation Act can be found on the website of the Workers’ Compensation Center (tvk.fi).
Other public bodies, for example municipalities, joint municipal authorities and congregations, are obliged to insure in the same way as private employers.
The Finnish Workers’ Compensation Center (TVK) is supervising that the obligation to insure is complied with. Consequences to be imposed for negligence are laid down by law.
Employees always have the right to compensation due to an occupational accident or disease, even in cases where the employer is not be obliged to insure his/her employees or the employer has not taken out an insurance policy in accordance with the law. In that case, the compensation matter is handled and the compensation is paid by the Workers’ Compensation Center (TVK).
Entrepreneurs who have an obligatory or voluntary insurance under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL) can insure themselves against occupational accidents and diseases by taking out a voluntary insurance policy under the Workers’ Compensation Act (TyTAL). The insurance covers their working hours. The voluntary insurance will cover the same entrepreneur work as the insurance under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act.
When compensation is paid for loss of income on the basis of the voluntary insurance covering the entrepreneur’s working hours, the income registered in the insurance policy under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act on the day of the injury is the payment criterion of the compensation.
Compensations relating to occupational accidents and diseases:
- Daily allowance compensates for the loss of income of the person incapable for work. Daily allowance is paid for one year from the date of the claim event.
- If the person’s incapacity for work continues after one year from the claim event, he/she will receive workers’ compensation pension.
- Daily allowance and workers’ compensation pension can also be paid as partial compensation if the person’s incapacity for work and reduction of income is partial.
- In the event of death, the children and the spouse of the deceased are paid survivors’ pension and the death estate of the deceased is paid funeral assistance.
- Compensation for functional limitation is paid to an injured person who suffers a general permanent functional limitation as a result of an occupational accident or disease.
- Other allowances include care allowance, clothing supplement and compensation for additional housekeeping costs.
- Compensation for the costs of rehabilitation is paid to injured persons whose work ability or functional capacity or opportunities for earning a living have deteriorated because of the injury, or if it is probable that these could later deteriorate due to the injury. Rehabilitation compensation can cover, for example, vocational rehabilitation, additional costs of service housing, aids and appliances as well as alterations to the place of residence.
The injured employee shall notify the employer of the injury and the employer shall then notify the insurance institution. The notification of the employer will start the compensation procedure.
The insurance institution shall, by their own initiative, pay the employee the compensations which the injured has the right to receive under the Workers’ Compensation Act and on the basis of information submitted to the institution.
The Act includes a separate section which provides that the injured employee shall apply for compensation for certain costs within one year after the costs were incurred. This applies to the costs of:
- medications and treatment supplies
- travel and accommodation
- additional costs of housekeeping
- specified objects damaged in connection with the claim event
- pay for periods of examination
- pay for periods of physiotherapy.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not handle objections, complaints or appeals.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the insurance institution, you can lodge an appeal with the Accident Appeal Board. Appeals to decisions by the Accident Appeal Board can be made to the Insurance Court. Appeals to decisions by the Insurance Court can, in some cases, be made to the Supreme Court. A decision always includes instructions on how to appeal against the decision.
Workers’ compensation system for farmers and grant recipients
Farmers and grant recipients are insured against occupational accidents and diseases by a MATA insurance. MATA insurance is a part of the obligatory MYEL insurance under Farmers’ Pensions Act. MATA insurance is automatically in force alongside the MYEL insurance, so there is no need to pay it separately.
Farmers who have no obligation to take out insurance but who regularly carry out farm work can voluntarily take out a MATA insurance.
Farmers’ and grant recipients’ statutory insurances are handled by the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution (MELA).
Tiina Muinonen, Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Communities and Functional Capacity / YTO, Children and Young People Unit / LANU Telephone:0295163185