The working life reforms of the Finnish government

The Finnish government is planning remarkable reforms of working life which are mainly related to weakening the position and rights of employees. Resistance against these deteriorations is widespread in the Finnish society, and several employee organisations have already organized numerous protests, demonstrations and strikes. Akava, to which Loimu also belongs, has proposed to the Prime Minister to initiate negotiations.start negotiations quickly, so that the labour market does not fall into crisis. There has been no response to the proposal yet.

The planned changes particularly weaken employment security, unemployment benefits, and the position of foreign workers. If there will not be any negotiations or the negotiations do not lead to a desired result, then Akava and its member unions, including Loimu, are forced to take a path of more robust measures.

The list of the planned changes below. Read also the interview of Loimus Executive Director Mikko Salo, who is also the Vice Chairman of Akava.

Weaker working conditions

  • First day of sick leave to be unpaid.
  • Agreements to be allowed at individual workplaces which are weaker than legislation, without a shop steward being involved.
  • Dismissals on personal grounds to be made easier: in future, an “objective” reason will suffice.
  • No particular grounds will be required for a fixed-term contract (of 12 months).
  • The warning period for furloughs will be reduced to seven days.
  • The Co-operation Act will only be observed in companies of over 50 employees.
  • The notification period for change  negotiations will be halved.
  • The export-driven salary model will be enacted in law.

Cuts to unemployment security

  • Earnings-related unemployment benefit will be cut by 20% after just two months of unemployment.
  • Employees will now need to have been worked for 52 weeks to be eligible for earnings-related unemployment benefit.
  • The qualifying period for unemployment security will be extended to 7 days.
  • The exempt amount for adjusted unemployment benefit, €300/month, will be abolished.
  • The vacation compensation paid at the end of employment will prevent payment of unemployment benefit during the period equivalent to the untaken vacation.
  • Older unemployed people’s security will be weakened by removing the additional benefit entitlement days for those over 58 years.

Restrictions to the right to strike

  • The right to support strikes and political strikes will be restricted.
  • An employee who participates in a strike will be fined €200 if the strike is deemed illegal.
  • The strike fines to be paid by trade unions are to be increased dramatically.

Other significant changes

  • A foreign employee’s employment-based residence permit expires and they must leave Finland if they are unable to find a new job within three months of the end of the expiration.
  • Adult education support will be abolished from August 1st, 2024.
  • The threshold for the commuting expense tax deduction will rise.

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