Citizens’ initiative urges government to backtrack on activation model

Job seekers will as of next year lose a share of their unemployment benefits if they fail to meet the new activity criteria approved by the Finnish Parliament on 19 December, 2017.

Almost 5,000 people have signed a citizens’ initiative demanding that the newly approved, so-called activation model for unemployment security be scrapped - writes helsinkitimes.fi.

The sponsors of the initiative are concerned that the activation model will cut the benefits of unemployed job seekers whenever their own attempts to promote their employment prospects and find employment fail to bear fruit.

“Job seekers, however, cannot decide the outcome of recruitment processes. It is the employer who does. It is therefore unreasonable to punish job seekers if the employer chooses to recruit another applicant,” the sponsors state.

“Job seekers also cannot decide whether or not the employment services that support their career plans are available in their home region, let alone whether or not they will be selected for the services they have applied for.”

Both of the decisions, they remind, fall within the purview of the Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices).

A minimum of 50,000 statements of support are required to present a citizens’ initiative to the Parliament. The initiative to scrap the activation model must receive the requisite number of statements of support by mid-2018.

The Finnish Parliament voted last week in favour of introducing the activation model at the beginning of next year by a vote of 103 for and 90 against. The model stipulates that job seekers will lose 4.65 per cent of their unemployment benefits if they fail to work for a pre-determined number of hours or participate in employment services over a three-month period.

Several members of the opposition have similarly criticised the activation model, describing it as a means to oppress job seekers. Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, has promised to abolish the activation model if the opposition party is part of the ruling coalition after the parliamentary elections of 2019.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva

Source: Uusi Suomi

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