Timo Harakka (SDP), the Minister of Employment, has denied reports that the government is expecting labour market organisations to agree on measures to create 30,000 new jobs. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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TIMO HARAKKA (SDP), the Minister of Employment, has refuted reports that the new government has compelled labour market organisations to agree on measures to create 30,000 new jobs in Finland by 2023.

“Nothing like that is stated in the government programme,” he said on Wednesday.

“The idea is that this government, unlike its predecessor, wants to keep labour market organisations part of the common endeavour. We’re confident that they can produce good ideas and initiatives,” he added.

The responsibility for creating the 60,000–75,000 new jobs required to raise the employment rate to 75 per cent lies therefore ultimately with the government. Harakka, however, also stressed that the government is not looking only four years ahead but is focused on producing long-term results with its employment measures.

“The target has been set seriously. But you shouldn’t focus only on what happens in the next four years but recognise that the most significant effects of the reforms launched by this government will not be visible until years after this government has left office,” he explained.

The five ruling parties have regardless agreed to monitor the development of the employment situation biannually.

“It’d be ill-advised to divide the 60,000-job target into goals for each of the four years or biannually and use a stopwatch to see if we’re keeping pace,” he said, admitting that the opposition will likely put pressure on the government immediately if employment growth is not on pace with the target.

Harakka pointed out that the government will monitor the employment situation in terms of not only the job target but also two distinct scales: the 75 per cent employment rate target will be tracked in the 15–64-year-old population, but a close eye will also be kept on employment in the 20–69-year-old population to develop a more accurate understanding of the situation.

“We really don’t want a single 15-year-old to work full-time, nor do we want people to automatically stop working once they turn 64,” he said.

Older age groups have emerged as the fastest growing groups of the employed in other Nordic countries. Finland must take action to ensure it does not fall behind in this respect, according to Harakka.

“The differences between Finland and Sweden are very substantial in terms of the more experienced population,” he highlighted.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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