Annika Saarikko (Centre), the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, has conceded that the government will not be able to carry out the long-discussed family leave reform.
“The core issue is that everything that works well on paper wouldn't necessarily work as well as we had hoped in reality. Another core issue is that with our boundary conditions there weren’t too many alternatives coming out of the oven,” she explained in her blog on Sunday.
Saarikko revealed that she re-considered her position on the reform after studying the impact assessments of the reform.
“The task force on family leaves complied with the demands of many members of the opposition and went through the impact assessments of our package. That changed my line of thought,” she told.
Saarikko pointed out that none of the alternatives under consideration would have encouraged tens of thousands to re-join the labour force, as envisioned by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).
“The proposals on the table had an employment impact of roughly 1,000 man-years. The women who live on child home care allowance for extended periods of time often don’t have a strong position in the labour market and have only a modest educational background,” she said.
One of the proposals under consideration, for example, would have represented a decrease of hundreds of euros in income for households receiving child home care allowance for extended periods of time, according to Saarikko.
“I’m glad that we wanted unanimously to support the employment prospects of these mothers by offering them better employment services after the family leaves.”
She also reminded that family leaves are a very politically charged and value-based topic of discussion. “We should burst a few of the bubbles surrounding it,” said Saarikko.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi