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Legislation - 15.08.2018 klo 14.45

The government’s planned severance act will silence women – PAM’s Ann Selin and JHL’s Päivi Niemi-Laine call for an impact of the gender impacts

The government’s plans to amend the Employment Contracts Act and to weaken the individual’s protection against dismissal will hit female-dominated sectors hardest. In the opinion of the union bosses, the plan is a threat to equal opportunities and will increase gender inequality in the labour market.

The government is planning to amend the Employment Contracts Act to make dismissing an employee easier than at present in companies with less than 20 employees. Ann Selin, President of Service Union United PAM, and Päivi Niemi-Laine, President of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, reject the proposal.

"The government should have evaluated the gender impact of the proposal", the union presidents demand.

"If it goes ahead, the law will silence women in workplaces. Reducing the individual’s protection against dismissal will increase fears and discriminate against employees based on gender and the size of the workplace. Women are already in a weaker position in the labour market and the risk is that the gap will widen still further", the presidents say.

The presidents of PAM and JHL are convinced that the government’s reasons for why the change is needed have been conjured up from nowhere. There is no evidence that the current rules represent a barrier to employment.

"The severance act is just another case of legislation being poorly prepared, which has become the norm during the Sipilä government. Moreover, this worsening of employees’ conditions will hit female-dominated sectors first ", says PAM’s Ann Selin.

The government proposal will particularly affect employees in service sectors and the public sector because the collective agreements in these sectors contain very few provisions on protection against dismissal. Women represent almost 70 per cent of employees in these sectors.

"If the law comes into force, employees in male-dominated sectors will be protected against impairments to protection against dismissal, at least until the next collective bargaining round. Female-dominated sectors such as the public sector and service sectors will feel the impairments to job security immediately", says JHL’s Päivi Niemi-Laine.

The presidents point out that promoting equal opportunities in working life calls for actions to narrow the pay gap, but which also promote social structures such as family leave to allow women to play a bigger role working life.