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UJF: “Active model” must be amended and instructions clarified

The UJF says that the government’s new “active model” for tackling unemployment has shortcomings.

The controversial “active model” is designed to motivate people who are on unemployment benefits to report their job-seeking activities to the employment office every three months or risk losing a cut in benefits.

The UJF has said that in addition to addressing concerns over the new policy that have been aired in public debate, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH) should specify how people in creative industries should comply with the “active model”.

The rule requires that self-employed job-seekers will be required to perform 18 hours of paid work in three-month periods, earning a minimum of €241 in that time. The “active model” thereby applies an 18-hour rule in determining pay based on working hours.

With project-specific working agreements in creative industries, employment is assessed on the basis of pay. The UJF points out that pay should therefore be at least €271,51. There is no reference to this in the information given out by the MSAH on its website. It’s also not been said whether the pay earned refers to the total amount invoiced, or taxable income after deductions. The sum should denote the invoiced amount, as in practice it is impossible to separate the deductions related to a single work item.

Flexibility of services promoting employment

The UJF believes that services to promote employment under the “active model” should be broadened in scope to include others than those organised by the labour service.

For example, the UJF and its member associations organize further training and career guidance that can promote employment for journalists more effectively than the Public Employment and Business Services.

Employers’ responsibilities

The burden of responsibility within the governments economic and employment measures lies almost exclusively with employees. Conversely, employers have been given tax concessions and other forms of relief related to social security payments. The UJF argues that employers should also be required to take active employment measures.

Demonstrate on your own time

At the beginning of February the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions organised a demonstration in Finland to protest the “active model”. The UJF did not take part in the demonstration. Industrial action is prohibited under the collective agreements for the press and publishing sector. Taking part in demonstrations in working time is counted as industrial action. It is important that the media reports on events in society, including exceptional situations.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company’s (Yle) programme employee’s organization YOT also recommended that Yle workers support the demonstration by working as normal, which would enable unimpeded news reportage.

Anyone, of course, could take part in the demonstration on their own time.