This is how the government program cuts will affect you
This is how the government program cuts will affect you
We created three fictional characters at different stages of their working lives and found out how the changes in working life and cuts livelihoods included in the government program will affect them. Through their stories, it becomes clear how the government program weakens your rights and your livelihood as an employee.
Anssi, in his twenties, is at the beginning of his working life. He is finishing his studies at the University of Applied Sciences and lives in a student unit in Central Finland. He is looking for a company in his field where he could do his thesis and get a job after his studies.
In universities of applied sciences, the quality of teaching and also the resources for thesis supervision, which is important to Anssi, threaten to decrease, when universities of applied sciences have to train more students with insufficient funding.
The study grant weakens – the student loan is increasing
Cuts in the general housing allowance, which also apply to students, and the index freezing of the student allowance mean that Anssi has to take out more student loans to cope with the growing expenses and rising rent. The increase in loans worries Anssi, because at the same time the economic situation is weakening.
Anssi feels more uncertain about his future than before. He knows that getting a permanent job is more difficult than before, because in the future the employer can hire Anssi for a one-year fixed-term employment without grounds.
Anssi ponders if he could even get a job after graduation. If Anssi remains unemployed after graduation, he will be paid Kela's labor market support. How is one supposed to survive on that? Anssi can no longer even earn 300 euros a month from part-time gigs without it affecting the labor market support or earnings per diem, when the so-called protective part is removed. It will be even more difficult to be eligible for the earnings-related unemployment benefit when the working condition will be extended to 12 months from the current 6 months.
The uncertainty of working life gnaws away – what about starting a family?
Working life is even more uncertain for Anssi, even if he does get a permanent job after graduation. In the future, any valid reason will be sufficient as a basis for dismissal.
As a young and new employee, Anssi needs more onboarding with the job than a seasoned professional. If the employer neglects orientation and, as a result, Anssi does not perform as required by the employer, he may be dismissed more easily than before by citing a reason related to the person. I have to find an employer who does onboarding well, Anssi thinks, and in this uncertain situation is not at all interested in starting a family. Definitely not yet!
Thirty-year-old Nella is on family leave from a fixed-term employment relationship and lives with her partner and one-year-old child in the capital region. Even before her current employment and family leave, she has had several temporary employments in the female-dominated financial administration sector. Nella is worried about what will happen after the family leave ends: will the current employer continue the previous employment or will she have to look for a new job once again.
Nella's concern is real. When hiring women in their thirties, employers may, in order to minimize costs, leave the employment completely open or offer a one-year period without any grounds, even though that constitutes pregnancy discrimination.
Cuts will directly affect families with children
If Nella can't even find a fixed-term job after the end of family leave, her livelihood will be weakened by several reductions in unemployment grants, such as the removal of child increases and the protective part of unemployment insurance, the extension of the employment condition of earnings-related unemployment insurance and the gradation of the level of earnings insurance, as well as the accumulation of the employment condition based on income, the periodicity of vacation benefits and increased deductible days.
Eternal wage gap
Nella feels that she is doing meaningful and important work in her own low-paid, female-dominated field, even though she is in a pay pit and seems to be staying there. According to the no-planned law, the national conciliator who resolves deadlocked collective agreement negotiations will no longer be allowed to propose as a wage settlement an increase that would exceed the wage settlement negotiated by the export industries. This makes it difficult to bridge the wage gap in low-paid sectors.
Especially with children, there are bound to be flus and sick days. If nothing else has been agreed in the collective agreement, the first sick day would be unpaid in the future. Nella would then be under pressure to go to work with a small flu, even with the risk of spreading it.
Juha, who is in his fifties, is an experienced businessman who has a degree from a business college. He enjoys his work, where there are thirty employees in addition to him. He knows that in order to stay in the working life until retirement age, he should develop his skills. But now he's too busy.
Both the rotation leave system and the adult education subsidy will be abolished as of August 1, 2024. Before that, Juha should start educating himself so that it would be easier to stay employed. A short break from work would help him cope and boost energy for the rest of the working life.
Getting an education alongside a busy job or financing a study leave with his own small savings are not realistic options for Juha. Especially when tuitions for open higher education may rise.
Less reaction time to layoffs and dismissals
At Juha's workplace, there are rumors going round about the employer's deteriorating financial situation. Layoffs, change negotiations and dismissals are easier than before in companies with less than 50 employees, which includes Juha's workplace. Layoffs could be made with a week's notice without negotiations, and the minimum time for change negotiations would only be 1–3 weeks, depending on the scope of the planned measures. For Juha, the time to prepare for a declining livelihood would be significantly shorter than before.
If Juha were to be fired instead of laid off, his employer, as a company with less than 50 employees, would no longer be obliged to offer him a job when the financial situation improves. It would be more difficult for him to get a job in his old age, because according to research, employers prefer to hire younger people rather than those approaching retirement age.
Cuts in unemployment security make everyday life harder
If unemployed, Juha's livelihood would be weaker than before, as the removal of age-related exceptions to unemployment insurance would reduce the earnings allowance. In addition, Juha is affected by other cuts of unemployment insurance: extension of the employment condition to 12 months and accumulation of the employment condition based on income, removal of the protective part of unemployment insurance, gradation of the level of earnings security, periodicity of vacation compensation and increased deductible days.
If Juha could no longer get a job in his old age, he could even have to apply for income support before he retires, and the conditions for receiving it are going to be tightened and the level lowered. In addition, he might also need to move, if the current living conditions prove too expensive, as the housing allowance conditions are also tightening.
When thinking about these things, Juha feels even more urgent to apply for a study leave from his employer and go study for a while with the help of the valid adult education support, now that the employer has not yet decided to terminate his employment.