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The Council helps eliminate collision in legislation, which did not allow self-employed pensioners to apply for unemployment benefits during quarantine

08.04.2021

Complainee: Dnipro City Employment Center

Complaint in brief: In June 2020, a private entrepreneur, a disabled person, approached to the Council. Due to introduction of quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), she had to suspend her business activities. Left without a source of income, she applied to a local employment center for unemployment benefits. However, the employment center neither decided on providing her with assistance, nor paid it. The complainant got outraged by this situation. After all, in the corresponding procedure adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers (Procedure No.306), her right to receive assistance was clearly provided. 

Actions taken: After reviewing case materials, the Council’s investigator found that it was not only and not so much about the complainant’s individual case, but rather a systemic problem affecting interests of all Ukrainian retired or disabled private entrepreneurs, who had to terminate their business activities in the background of quarantine. Despite the fact that such persons are exempted from the obligation to pay a monthly unified social contribution (USC), the Cabinet of Ministers clearly stipulated their right to receive assistance in the amount of two thirds of minimum wages per month in the relevant Procedure No.306. However, the provisions of Procedure No.306 turned out to be inconsistent with the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Employment of the Population”. The latter established that persons receiving a pension (by age or disability) were not entitled to receive benefits. Due to this collision, employment centers massively denied such applicants assistance. 

The problem seemed difficult, as it required legislative amendments to address it. To facilitate it, the Council communicated with a number of state bodies, including the dedicated committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, and the State Employment Center of Ukraine (SECU).

Result achieved: Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Employment of the Population” came into force on December 21, 2020, while to the Procedure No. 306 – on March 13, 2021. In addition, at the Council’s request the SECU provided a clarification confirming the right of private entrepreneurs who were pensioners or disabled persons, and did not pay USC, to receive unemployment benefits if they had to stop doing business during quarantine period. Thus, the conflict in the legislation was eliminated and now this category of entrepreneurs has the right to apply for assistance like others. The practical possibility of entrepreneurs receiving assistance depends on their own activity (it is necessary to collect and submit the respective package of documents for that) and on budget funds allocated for this purpose. The case was closed.