SAK wants clarity in social security – without forgetting services
According to Saana Siekkinen, Work and Security Director at SAK, the activation model revealed that there are people on unemployment allowance who are in fact work-incapacitated. Photo: Eeva Anundi
Saana Siekkinen, Work and Security Director at SAK, would prefer to reform social security gradually rather than turning it inside out all at once. She flags up the main changes needed to social security. In particular, SAK prioritises reform of unemployment security and family leave.
1 Unemployment security We hope that the legislation on unemployment security will be reviewed in the next parliamentary term. It is important that the reforms that are made support employment. In our own model we have been thinking about how the model could be made simpler and more understandable for unemployed persons whilst placing as few obstacles as possible in the way of employment, including short-term employment.
2 Working capacity The activation model revealed that there are people on unemployment allowance who are in fact work-incapacitated, but have reached the maximum duration of sickness allowance. Now the activation model has cut their unemployment security too, since they have been unable to meet the conditions of the model. This needs to be rethought –and incapacity for work should be addressed right at the start of unemployment.
3 Family leave A reform of family leave should now be launched since it got nowhere in the current parliamentary term. The idea in our proposal is to increase flexibility in the family leave system to make it easier for both parents to use. Paternal leave should be expanded. Implementing this would probably require some increase in funding.
4 Services As well as benefits we should also be thinking about what sort of services people need. Last year SAK and the Industrial Union carried out surveys of unemployed persons. The respondents said they were looking for services so that they are not left all alone to fend for themselves. A particular concern emerged about how to support those unemployed persons who do not live in big cities.
5 Skiing This has been a dream winter for cross-country skiing. I have been skiing since I was a child, up to competition level. It is so peaceful in the forest, and beautiful too in the winter snow.
Saana Siekkinen is Work and Security Director at PAM’s central organisation, SAK. Last year she headed up SAK’s unemployment security development project.
She has previously worked in trade unions, and was PAM’s development director from 2013 to 2014.