Tekijä (20.03.2024 - Heikki Jokinen) The Orpo-Purra Government’s drastic cuts in Finnish unemployment security endanger the existing system of temporary lay-offs. In international comparison, this system is seen as something positive and working well.

The employer can lay off an employee temporarily, based on the rules stipulated in the Finnish law, either for a fixed-term period or until further notice. This can happen by reducing working hours or interrupting the work completely.

Even when payment of wage or salary is stopped, the employment relationship remains in effect in other respects. For the loss in pay, an employee can get earnings-related allowance for the period of the lay-off. For Industrial Union members, this is paid by the A-kassa unemployment fund.

This system is a combination of flexibility for companies in difficult times and security for employees. For workers, it also gives the possibility to return to the job of their own competence.

Now, due to the right-wing government cuts in employment security, the system is being tested. With the new smaller unemployment benefits, employees might choose to move to another job during the temporary lay-off time. Even some employers have been worried that competent employees could leave.

At the same time, the government makes it more difficult for employees to adapt to the changes. Before reducing the workforce, a company with at least 20 employees is obligated to hold cooperation negotiations, under Finnish law. The negotiations could take from two to six weeks and the temporary lay-offs must be announced at least two weeks in advance.

This will change, too, with the new Orpo-Purra Government policy. In future, the length of time for cooperation negotiations will be halved. Also, these negotiations will only apply to much bigger companies i.e. those employing at least 50 employees. The notice period for temporary lay-offs will be cut in half, to seven days.

All this leaves significantly less time for employees to be prepared and organise their life during possible lay-offs.