The General Unemployment Fund (YTK) has voiced its support for a proposal to transfer the responsibilities of the Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices) to unemployment funds and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).
The proposal, it says, would benefit the unemployed.
The Finnish Government has decided to transfer the responsibilities of TE Offices to the counties to be established as part of the regional government reform as of early 2019.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy revealed last week that its task force has proposed that responsibilities related to the implementation of the unemployment security and job alternation leave systems be transferred to the agencies disbursing unemployment benefits as of early 2018. The task force also confirmed that both TE Offices and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) would be abolished. The counties, meanwhile, would be made responsible for organising some of the employment services currently provided by TE Offices.
“This is a truly significant societal change,” Auli Hänninen, the chairperson of YTK, comments in a press release.
“The task force's proposal would, if carried out, clarify the unemployment security system of Finland. This is excellent news from the customers' standpoint as they would only have to deal with a single decision-making agency,” he explains.
The proposal would also consolidate the position of unemployment funds as guarantors of income security by making them responsible for determining independently whether or not applicants meet the eligibility criteria for earnings-related allowance, views Hänninen.
YTK is, with its 380,000 members, the largest unemployment fund in Finland.