Changes to the Unemployment Security Act planned by the Finnish Government
The Finnish Government is planning adjustments to the unemployment security. Any detailed content of the changes or when they become effective is uncertain, and the information we have at the moment is preliminary. Job seeking requirement is planned to take effect on 2021 and the other revisions until the end of this year or at the beginning of 2019.
Job seeking requirement as a new obligation that affects the unemployed
In the model for independent job seeking (so-called activity model 2) the unemployed would be required to apply for four jobs or job opportunities within one months review period. Work carried out as an entrepreneur would also be considered as independent job seeking. The options for meeting the job seeking requirement would include submitting a job application, contacting employers directly, participating in recruitment events, signing up for the employee registers of companies providing employment services or temporary agency work, or by such equivalent means.
Job seeking would not be required for those weeks that full-time employment lasts for more than two weeks or as a full-time entrepreneur for at least two weeks. Those not fit for work would be exempted from the job seeking requirement. If the job seeker needs support in getting employed, requirement would be lowered or it would not be required at all. The labour market situation and the possible occupational immunity of the jobseeker would have an effect in the number of sought job opportunities. During the quieter holiday periods in many sectors, the number of sought job opportunities could also vary. In case the unemployed would not apply for the required number of jobs during the review period, a suspension period could be imposed after one notice. A suspension period would also be set, if the applicant would turn down services that promote employment or when the applicant drops out of them. Depending on the number of times the job seeking requirement is neglected or the jobseeker has dropped out of or refused to participate in the service, the duration of the suspension period would be set gradually to longer periods.
If the person turns down or drops out of the service, the sanctions would be made more moderate compared to current ones. The suspension period previously imposed when failing to attend to the drafting or revising of the employment plan would now be removed. However, the right to the benefit would be discontinued and granted again only after the employment plan has been drafted or revised. The 30 days suspension period would be removed, if the applicant refuses to accept work offers that last less than two weeks or are part-time.
Job seeking requirement would not have an effect to the current activity model.
New ways to meet activity model requirements
The Government has planned to include services provided by municipalities and trade unions to accrue the activity requirement. Until now only the services that have been provided by the TE Office or some pilot municipalities have been accepted as meeting the requirement. Participation in a service for five days within the review period of 65 days would fulfil the requirement and the benefit would not be reduced.
The Government has also proposed to the Finnish Parliament that full-time study maximum of six months would be accepted, if the person is unemployed. The activity requirement would be fulfilled when the person has studied for five days full-time or part-time within the review period of 65 days.
Other reform proposals affecting the unemployment fund’s operations
It is proposed that, in future, the unemployment fund would investigate the eligibility to the increased expense allowance, when the service is provided and reported by a private service provider. However, the TE office would still inform the unemployment fund whether the participation in the service takes place within or outside the employment area, or, within the employment area but outside the municipality of residence.
Head of Unemployment Fund