A comprehensive social security reform is widely expected to be one of the main reforms of the next electoral term in Finland.
A government-appointed task force proposed earlier this week that the benefits making up the minimum-level of social security – the social assistance, basic unemployment allowance, labour market subsidy, sickness allowance, parental allowance and housing allowance – be consolidated into a basic social security act.
The basic component of the new basic security would be 697 euros a month if the recipient is a registered job seeker who meets the criteria laid out in the activation model for unemployment security.
“Consolidating minimum-level benefits into one basic security act will establish a clearer income transfer system for customers that reduces inactivity traps and marginalisation,” the task force says in its final report.
The report was presented to Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) on Wednesday, 21 March.
Headed by Juho Saari, a professor of social and health policy at the University of Tampere, the task force estimates that the first stage should be to reform the social assistance act in a way that prevents recipients from being forced into unreasonable situations, increases the act's incentive effect and ensures that as many a social security service as possible is available under one roof.
The basic security would, once completed, consist of a basic component, housing allowance, supplementary component and various compensations. It would be disbursed to those who are entitled to unemployment benefits.
The task force also argues that the basic security would increase predictability and work incentives by introducing an activity-based supplement and harmonising the concepts and calculation rules of social security benefits. The basic security would decrease as the recipient’s earnings increased but never to the extent that working becomes not worthwhile.
“The incentives would be considerably better than the current ones. The proposal would increase social assistance costs by no more than six million euros,” the task force tells.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi