The working poor phenomenon is emerging in Finland, indicates a survey published on Tuesday by Service Union United (PAM).
The survey found that people employed in the commerce sector are receiving roughly 30 million euros a year in social security benefits, despite the fact that the sector is generating annual net profits of 334 million euros.
Antti Koskela, an economist at PAM, says the situation is particularly alarming in the service sector.
“The situation is alarming. How is it possible that employers in the sector are shifting a share of the wage burden to taxpayers? Or, is it indeed the taxpayers’ responsibility to subvent a profitable sector by covering a share of the employees’ social security benefits?” he asks in a blog post on Puheenvuoro.
He reminds that the phenomenon is already widely recognised in, for example, the United Kingdom and the United States. In such countries, he adds, the supplementation of wages with social security benefits is considered acceptable in order to guarantee a livelihood.
“It is disconcerting if we start making compromises also in Finland,” states Koskela.
He points out that the issue is associated especially with part-time employment: “Hiring a part-time employee inflicts costs on the society due to the fact that the majority of part-time employees receive social security benefits.”
People employed in the service sector are particularly likely to be in forced part-time employment, he adds. Statistics Finland’s latest labour force survey suggests that the lack of full-time employment opportunities is a more-common-than-average reason for part-time employment in Finland – especially in the retail and hospitality sectors.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi