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Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left Alliance) spoke to the public at the market square of Hyvinkää in Southern Finland on 27 August 2020. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTER of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left Alliance) has urged the Finnish government to trial shorter working hours with public-sector companies and organisations by the end of the electoral term.

“The effects of a shorter work week could be positive especially in the care sector,” she gauged on Twitter on Thursday.

“We should trial not only six-hour workdays, but also other ways to reduce working hours such as a four-day work week. The key in the trial should be to examine the effects of shorter working hours on labour productivity, sick leaves and employee well-being.”

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Pekonen said the government should earmark additional funding for developing working life and the employment situation in its budget session. Shorter working hours, she indicated, should be examined as part of a variety of measures required to foster the longevity of employees and establish a positive environment for job creation.

The notion of shorter working hours has been supported especially by the Left Alliance and Social Democrats. Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) stated at the end of last week that the ruling party should put together a “clear vision and concrete roadmap” for proceeding toward shorter workdays and better working life.

Pekonen on Thursday also drew attention to a 14-item action plan for weeding out the exploitation of foreign labour presented by Tuula Haatainen (SDP), the Minister of Employment.

“The proposals should be taken to the preparatory phase and the measures at our disposal should be strengthened by granting organisations the right to appeal,” said Pekonen.

“As the minister responsible for labour protection, I believe it’s important that employers who are guilty of underpaying wages and other violations are held accountable for their violations. The powers of labour protection authorities must be strengthened to make sure they have credible sanctions at their disposal.

The Left Alliance, she added, is eager to invest in developing expertise and fostering the ability to work.

“Rather than punishing the unemployed, we want to reform social security and invest in expertise, the ability to work and services that match people’s individual needs. In the long term, this is the only sustainable recipe for safeguarding the Nordic welfare state.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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