Health care professionals can be paid different wages for the same job even within a single hospital district, highlights the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy). (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYERS (KT) has urged lawmakers to mitigate the effects of the wage harmonisation necessitated by the upcoming social, health care and local government reform.

Markku Jalonen, the labour market director at KT, on Monday reminded that the wage harmonisation is expected burden employers in the social and health care sector with substantial costs, ranging from roughly a hundred million to almost a billion euros.

The wages, he underscored, should under no circumstances be aligned with the highest wages in each hospital district but rather with the median wage, for example.

Employee and employer organisations remain up to hundreds of millions of euros apart in their estimates of the costs of the harmonisation, partly because there have yet to be any negotiations on the remuneration system to be adopted as part of the massive reform.

The harmonisation is to be carried out as approximately 220,000 employees of hospital districts and local governments move on to the payrolls of counties most likely at the beginning of 2021, unless the reform bill fails to pass in the Finnish Parliament.

Labour market organisations also disagree on whether the harmonisation should be implemented through legislation or negotiations.

Public Sector Negotiating Commission (JUKO), the largest bargaining body for social and health care professionals, for example, has been reluctant to allow lawmakers to intervene in wage formation, which has thus far been the responsibility of labour market organisations.

The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland (Tehy) reveals that wages for the same job can vary by hundreds of euros a month even within a single hospital district. Tehy views that the current situation is unlawful and has demanded that it be addressed as employees move from municipalities and hospital districts to counties as part of the reform.

“The harmonisation should have already been carried out. Hospital districts are paying different wages for the same job without no proper justification,” states Else-Mai Kirvesniemi, the head of labour market affairs at Tehy.

She laments that lawmakers have failed to address the issue, despite being aware of it for a long time.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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