Helsinki (17.09.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Finnish system for temporary lay-offs turned out to be flexible in comparison to many other European systems during the coronavirus pandemic. But financially it is less generous than many others.

This is according to a comparative report on short-time (reduced hours) work schemes in six European countries, Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The report is drafted by working life consultant Jyrki Raina, the former General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

When the coronavirus crisis hit Finland, there was no need to establish a new scheme to facilitate short-time work. The existing scheme for temporary lay-offs is based on unemployment benefits from unemployment funds or from Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.

Helsinki (03.09.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Three big unemployment funds have undertaken preparations to merge. If things go as planned, the new fund should start operating by the beginning of 2022.

The funds involved in the merger are the Public and Welfare Sectors’ Unemployment Fund (140,412 members at the end of 2019), the Unemployment Fund of Finnish Industrial Workers (139,172 members) and the Unemployment Fund of the Construction sector (45,590 members).

In total, the new fund will have some 326,000 members. Altogether 1.9 million Finns are members of unemployment funds.

Helsinki (02.09.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Some 250 people sought advice from the Summer Job Helpline, run by the three Finnish trade union federations Akava, SAK and STTK.

Help is given to all who call or make contact; union membership is not necessary. Most of those seeking advice or help are young people, often students.

"Pay was the number one question," says Anni Ritari who ran the service from early May to 28 August. "People asked whether their pay is as it should be and whether they get all the allowances."

Helsinki (26.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) The Delegate Council meeting of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK unanimously elected Jarkko Eloranta to continue as the President of the federation on August 25.

In his speech to the Delegate Council Eloranta voiced concern about the future of the Finnish labour market model which is based on negotiations and contracts.

He pointed out that the employers' federation EK has tried for many years to undermine the range of contracts between labour market parties, like discontinuing the national labour market pacts, terminating the labour market federations' joint agreements and now a determination to end the pay-related unemployment fund system.