Mikael Pentikäinen, the managing director of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, was photographed at an event where business interest groups unveiled their joint objectives for the electoral term in Helsinki in February 2023. A recent survey by the federation shows that businesses are broadly satisfied with the government programme and policy measures taken to implement it. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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ALMOST TWO-THIRDS, or 64 per cent, of business owners are satisfied with the makeup of the current government, reveals a survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

Conducted in February, the survey also found that 60 per cent of business owners are satisfied and 26 per cent dissatisfied with the government programme. Well over half, or 58 per cent, of the respondents stated that they are satisfied and 32 per cent that they are dissatisfied with government actions.

Satisfaction was high especially among the owners of over 10-employee companies and industrial companies, dissatisfaction among female business owners, young business owners and sole proprietors.

“Business owners are broadly of the opinion that the government is trying to implement reforms that facilitate the opportunities of businesses and business owners to operate, employ and grow,” analysed Mikael Pentikäinen, the managing director of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

“The government is currently trying to implement reforms that inject dynamism to the economy without undermining the existing basic security in working life.”

Business owners, he argued, are the first to feel the economic challenges of Finland.

The federation also asked its members about their satisfaction with individual cabinet and opposition members, finding a degree of satisfaction with the government that is unprecedented in the history of the survey.

Satisfaction with Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) stood at 58 per cent and Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) at 55 per cent. Satisfaction with Purra and the makeup of the coalition government has increased particularly, by five percentage points from the previous time business owners were asked about the issue, in November.

Slightly over one-tenth, or 11 per cent, of the respondents said they are satisfied with the leaders of the two largest opposition parties, Antti Lindtman of the Social Democrats and Annika Saarikko of the Centre.

The survey also revealed that almost two-quarters of business owners are in favour of the government proposal to make the first day of sick leave unpaid.

“Business owners are strongly supportive of making the first day of sick leave unpaid. That is because business of owners pay wages for the day without receiving the labour input,” Pentikäinen commented on Saturday. They may have to pay up a sick employee up to ten days worth of wages without receiving the input they are paying for. Many do so from their own, often small livelihood.”

“This is pushing especially small business owners with employees between a rock and a hard place, discouraging them from hiring. You have to ease the burden of small employers from sick-leave wages one way or another if you want to have employers in the first place.”

Conducted by Verian, the survey drew responses from almost 1,340 representatives of small and medium enterprises in early February.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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