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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) appeared before the media after his government wrapped up its fourth and final framework session in Helsinki on 11 April, 2018.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) appeared before the media after his government wrapped up its fourth and final framework session in Helsinki on 11 April, 2018.

 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has defended the proposals tabled by his government after its fourth and final framework session in Helsinki on 11 April, 2018.

The Finnish government proposed after the two-day session that laying off staff on personal grounds be made easier for businesses with no more than 20 staff and that employers be allowed to hire under 30-year-old unemployed job seekers on fixed-term contracts without justification.

Sipilä on Sunday reminded that youth unemployment has not decreased at the same rate as other forms of unemployment.

“Young people especially are at risk of long-term unemployment and other problems when the unemployment period has lasted three months,” he argued during his weekly interview on YLE Radio Suomi.

Employers, he added, will only be able to offer fixed-term contracts without the necessary justification to under 30-year-old job seekers who have been without a job for a minimum of three months.

“This is an attempt to lower the threshold for hiring such young people. It’s not like we’re weakening their terms and conditions of employment. The objective is to have young people show what they’re made of and have the employment relationship become an ordinary one on regular terms,” explained Sipilä.

Jarkko Eloranta, the chairperson of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), warned a day earlier that the proposal could erode the livelihood and future prospects of young people – especially women.

Sipilä said he disagrees, viewing that it is unlikely the proposal will result in an increase in fixed-term employment.

“What sense would it make for employers to hire another person who has been unemployed for three months just when the [current] employee has learnt their responsibilities?” he asked. “This will make it easier to enter into an employment contract, not to chain fixed-term contracts.”

He also reiterated that the objective of the proposal to make it easier for small businesses to make staff redundant on personal grounds is to reduce the risks businesses take when hiring employees.

“If the threshold to go from a sole proprietor to a self-employed employer was lower, we wouldn’t have this unemployment problem. It’s a problem especially for small businesses where hiring an employee comes with the biggest risks but also with great opportunities,” said Sipilä.

Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, said last weekend he has called a joint meeting of the opposition parties to draft an interpellation against the proposed revisions to the protection of employees against unilateral termination. Several trade unions, meanwhile, have announced their readiness to stage strikes if the government proceeds with its proposals.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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