Three-year cut list
Even when it was completed in spring 2015, the programme of the Sipilä government was criticised for being unconstitutional and discriminatory against the underprivileged in society. Many of the savings recorded in the government programme have been targeted on wage earners.
The cut list of the government programme included items such as the limitation of subjective child daycare rights, cuts to earnings-related unemployment benefits and additional cuts to unemployment security.
Earnings-related unemployment benefits were cut by 200 million, job alternation leave by 50 million and vocational training by 190 million.
The government pushed forward a package of forced legislation, or bills that would weaken the position and working conditions of wage earners. For example, earnings-related unemployment benefits would have been cut by an additional EUR 120 million.
The opposition and protest of trade unions contributed to the withdrawal of the forced legislation.
The government proposal for forced legislation included the following:
- shortening of annual leave from 38 to 30 working days
- reduction of holiday bonus by 30%
- extension of annual working hours of workers by 100 hours
- cuts to sickness pay
- Epiphany and Ascension Day as unpaid holidays
After threatening with and blocking the forced legislation, the negotiations leading to the so-called “Competitiveness Agreement” (“kiky”) were finally started.
The Competitiveness Agreement was completed in early 2016. The trade unions accepted the agreement reluctantly, but it was considered a lesser evil to members than the forced legislation proposed by the government.
Parental leave allowances were cut.
An amendment to the Annual Leave Act reduced the accumulation of annual leave during maternity, paternity and parental leave.
The conditions for job alternation leave were tightened.
The annual leave of sick leave was cut by returning the waiting days.
The government wanted to increase local bargaining with legislation that would override collective agreements.
The government proposed the introduction of a work proof service.
The Competitiveness Agreement was born as an alternative to the forced legislation. For example, working hours had to be extended by 24 hours. The unions were forced to accept the agreement.
When the Competitiveness Agreement was concluded, the Sipilä government promised that unemployment security would not be cut. However, the government did not keep this promise, but later prepared the so-called activity model one. Activity model two is under preparation.
Huge cuts were made to education.
Cuts were made to almost all Kela benefits.
Wage subsidies, start-up allowances, and expense allowances for the unemployed were reduced.
Major cuts to vocational and adult education. The so-called reform in vocational education reduces the education budget by EUR 190 million. The available intake and the amount of teaching are reduced.
The 200 million euro cuts, agreed before the Competitiveness Agreement, came into force. The situation of the unemployed was tightened in many respects.
Earnings-related unemployment security was shortened, the increase components were reduced and the number of waiting days increased. Amendments to the Employment Contracts Act weakened the wage earner’s employment security.
The so-called activity model was approved. The model cuts unemployment security if the so-called activity condition is not met.
Activity model one, cutting unemployment security, entered into force on 1 January 2018. According to statistics published by Kela and the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, about 150,000 people received reduced unemployment benefit due to the activity model in April–June.
The government brought a bill to the framework budget that would allow unfounded temporary employment relationships for workers under 30 years of age. The bill was later revoked.
The government also brought a bill to the framework budget that would weaken the protection against dismissal in companies with less than 20 people.
The government continues to prepare the independent job search model, or the so-called activity model two. The bill is due to be submitted to parliament this autumn.
The employer’s obligation to rerecruit and the obligation to provide additional work no longer apply to situations in which apprentices enter the workplace. The change has negative impacts on workers’ livelihood, equality and personnel training.
Workplace Bulletin 12.9.2018 – Overtime ban beginning on Monday, 17 September at 00.00
Biulutyn praca 12.9.2018 – Zakaz pracy w godzinach nadliczbowych zaczyna obowiązywać w poniedziałek 17.09. o godz. 00.00
Информационный бюллетень 12.9.2018 – Запрет на сверхурочные работы начинает действовать в понедельник 17.9. в 00.00