The Finnish government should consider the possibility of amending the activation model for unemployment security by allowing job seekers to satisfy the activity criteria by participating in volunteer or non-profit work, says Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister of Economic Affairs.
Lintilä confirmed to YLE on Tuesday that unpaid and other types of volunteer work are currently not counted towards the activity requirements of unemployed job seekers.
He revealed that the possibility of relaxing the requirements could be considered as the government convenes to mull over means to develop the activation model further in April. He also, however, stopped short of promising that the much-criticised model will be amended according to the wishes of its critics.
“The possibility should be re-evaluated then,” he told the public broadcasting company.
Elli Aaltonen, the director general of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), has similarly expressed her hope that job seekers will be allowed to demonstrate their activity also by participating in unpaid or other types of volunteer work. She estimated that expanding the activity criteria could be a way to encourage the long-term unemployed to become active members of the society.
“That way it’d have a stronger preventive effect on social exclusion. As things stand it could be that those who don’t become active as prescribed in the law don’t become active at all. That’s when you’re simply moving people [from unemployment benefits] to social assistance,” she explained to Uusi Suomi on 4 January.
Lintilä admitted that the activation model is not without its problems, such as the position of elderly long-term unemployed job seekers.
“[If] you’re an over 60-year-old long-term job seeker, the situation as a whole is certainly challenging. It’s a situation that will definitely require customised solutions, and that’s why it’s so important to take the resources into consideration.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi