The so-called activation model for unemployment security obliges job seekers to demonstrate their activity on a monthly basis or lose a share of their unemployment benefits. (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE SECOND MOST POPULAR citizens’ initiative to date is set to be turned down by the Finnish Parliament.

The Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee declared in a statement issued yesterday that it is recommending that the initiative to abolish the so-called activation model for unemployment security be turned down by the Parliament.

The initiative received a total of 140,944 statements of support in roughly a month after its launch in December 2017. The much-criticised activation model was introduced at the start of the following year, stipulating that job seekers who fail to satisfy a set of activity criteria will lose a share of their unemployment benefits for 65 days.

Job seekers can satisfy the criteria by working at least 18 hours, earning at least 240 euros through self-employment or participating in employment services for five days.

The Social Affairs and Health Committee reminded in its statement that experts are widely of the opinion that it remains premature to evaluate the impacts of the activation model, because the studies are still ongoing and data is only available from three 65-day monitoring periods.

It acknowledged, however, that the activation model appears to affect unemployment benefit recipients unequally depending on factors such as age and place of residence.

“The committee holds that the severe criticism levelled at the activation model and the initiative now under consideration show that the model is not without its flaws. The model has not provided job seekers who have sought to find employment and access services with sufficient means to demonstrate their activity to prevent the reduction in benefits,” it said.

The committee also drew attention to the importance of monitoring the effects of the model, reminding that it has already been amended and will be amended further based on the conclusions drawn by a tripartite task force led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“The results of studies about the effects of the activation model will be received in 2019, making it possible to evaluate in more detail the advantages, disadvantages, necessity and development needs of the model,” it added.

Members of the Social Affairs and Health Committee tabled as many as four objections against the statement.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi