The Bill that passed the second reading in the Riigikogu today will ensure more flexible organisation of the alternative and continuing care service, extend the range of persons who are entitled to monthly family benefits, and enhance the possibilities for local authorities to support young people who need the continuing care service.
The Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act and Other Acts (295 SE), initiated by the Government, will also enable a contract of employment to be entered into with family parents in family homes providing the alternative care service, besides the authorisation agreement provided for in the current law. Specifications regarding the working and rest time will be provided for the cases when a contract of employment is entered into, which will ensure family parents social guarantees equally to other persons employed under the Employment Contracts Act. Under the current regulation, an agreement can be entered into with a family parent that is essentially an authorisation agreement under the law of obligations with special conditions and the conditions in place will not be amended.
The Bill will create the possibility to receive family benefits, for example, child benefit, guardianship allowance, the single parent’s child allowance, the allowance for families with many children, as well as the disabled student’s allowance and the disabled parent’s allowance if a child of up to 19 years of age has been included in the list of a full-time in-service training course at a state agency administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The amendment concerns children over 16 years of age who are studying at Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre and do not have the status of a student, and who are, therefore, deprived of the above-mentioned allowance. Under the current regulation, the payment of family allowances in connection with studies is contingent on studies at a basic school, a secondary school or in formal vocational education.
The Bill will also make other amendments. For example, uniform state fee rates will be established for the social services provided under an activity licence (the social rehabilitation service, the safe house service and the general care service provided outside home). In the case of the continuing care service, local authorities will have the possibility to use the resources of the support fund for all young people who have left alternative care and guardianship until they attain 25 years of age. Under the regulation in force, the age requirement is different.
A Bill passed the first reading
The Bill on the Ratification of the Agreement on the Amendment and Termination of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Finland and the Government of the Republic of Estonia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (294 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the amendment of the agreement before it is terminated, because it provides that, in respect of investments made during the time that it is in force, the agreement remains in force for the following ten years after the expiry of the agreement. Thus, the agreement will need to be amended in order that, upon termination thereof, the application of the agreement will also be terminated completely.
The termination of the agreement is necessary in order to ensure that investors from all EU Member States are accorded equal treatment based on European Union legislation. The agreements for the promotion and protection of investments concern areas that are regulated by EU law – in particular the freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital and payments. Thus, protection of investments and equal treatment of investors is regulated by EU law, and there is no need for bilateral agreements between member states. Although EU law has supremacy over agreements entered into by Member States, reliance on such agreements however may bring about unequal treatment of investors from Member States, depending on whether an investment protection agreement has been entered into or not. The European Commission has also requested termination of the mutual agreements between Member States to preclude conflicts with EU law, and has started infringement proceedings against five Member States.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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