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A new decree, effective April 2024, has been issued to clarify the health and safety protections for pregnant workers in Finland. However, the criteria for granting special pregnancy allowance by Kela remain unchanged.

On April 5, 2024, the Finnish Government issued a decree aimed at protecting workers who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are breastfeeding from workplace hazards.

These legislative changes align Finland’s regulations more closely with the EU Directive on the protection of pregnant workers.

Despite these updates, the grounds for Kela’s special pregnancy allowance, paid under the Health Insurance Act, are unaffected. This benefit supports pregnant workers who must avoid workplace hazards before they begin receiving regular pregnancy allowance.

No Changes to Special Pregnancy Allowance Eligibility

Special pregnancy allowance is granted to pregnant individuals who cannot work due to exposure to workplace hazards such as chemical substances, radiation, and infectious diseases. The Health Insurance Act outlines these hazards, and Kela’s decisions on granting the allowance are strictly based on this Act. The recent decree does not modify the Act’s provisions, ensuring the criteria for receiving special pregnancy allowance remain the same.

The decree places specific responsibilities on employers to protect the health and safety of pregnant workers. It expands the list of recognized workplace hazards to include noise, physically demanding tasks, and potential violence. These updates aim to better reflect current workplace practices and provide clearer guidelines for protecting pregnant workers.

Guidance for Employers and Healthcare Providers

Employers are now required to adhere to the updated list of workplace hazards and ensure the safety of pregnant workers accordingly. Meanwhile, occupational healthcare providers are advised to stay informed about these legislative changes to offer accurate guidance to pregnant workers.

It is essential for pregnant workers and occupational healthcare providers to understand that these legislative changes do not impact Kela’s criteria for granting special pregnancy allowance. Kela’s decisions must be based solely on the Health Insurance Act, without any discretionary power.

Pregnant workers are encouraged to consult both Kela and their occupational healthcare providers to determine their eligibility for special pregnancy allowance under the current regulations.

By maintaining the existing grounds for special pregnancy allowance while updating workplace safety requirements, the Finnish Government aims to ensure the well-being of pregnant workers without complicating the benefits system.

HT

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