Employment Policy Reform in Finland

At a recent press conference from the new Minister of Employment, Tuula Haatainen (SocDem), presented the employment policy of the newly appointed government. 

However, these are early days and no new figures are available as the planning process is split up into many smaller working groups that will be delivering reports in March/April 2020. 

Her expectations are quite positive although reports in the media talk about:

    • Arguments between the parties
    • How can they achieve better employment rates when the economy is not performing on steroids?
    • Should workers be forced to look for work? 

The aim is to achieve 75% employment rate (60 00 extra employed) by 2023 and that the 2020 budget measures will result in 30 000 to be employed.

The major challenges are as follows:

    • Ageing population
    • Lack of skilled workers
    • High levels of structural unemployment
    • Weaker economic climate
    • Lower levels of labour productivity
    • Too many mother outside labour market 
    • Young people left by the side
    • Students and immigrants not employed
    • The potential for part-time workers to enter the labour market is weaker
    • Older working people not working as much as they should be compared to other Nordic countries.

The ministry is in charge of coordinating this work:

    • There are many ongoing projects
    • Pilot project with municipalities
    • Wage subsidies are being reviewed
    • Support for the unemployed
    • Ensuring that demand and supply meet one another
    • New legislation allowing more local labor agreements

In her comments at the end of the press conference the minister said that nobody should be forced to look for work if faced with infirmity or other serious impediment. The past “Active Model” where the unemployed were expected to report regularly on efforts to find work system has been stopped and will eventually be replaced with a more effective solution, Wage support measures will be introduced at the beginning of next year.

She also stated that efforts by the trade unions to face down reforms they did not approve would in fact be dealt with through negotiations between the employer and employee unions … she believes that the unions will solve these challenges in the end without intervention by the government. 

Regarding the matter of too many mother outside labour market, she said that mothers on long maternity leave will see some changes  but she cannot comment any further because another ministry is in charge of this matter. a

Finally she expects that the immigration process will be streamlined for approving skilled immigrants to work foreigners to work in Finland. 

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