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Wellbeing services counties prepare for payroll glitches after reform

With the reform deadline looming, 21 new wellbeing service counties are trying to ensure that the wage payment of tens of thousands of workers remains unaffected.

Monetra Keski-Suomi Oy:n palkanlaskijoita.
The legislation establishing the 21 new wellbeing services counties was adopted by Parliament in June 2021. Image: Niko Mannonen / Yle
Yle News

Under the sweeping new social and healthcare reform known as sote, some 170,000 workers will be transferred to new employers. Now authorities are making the final preparations to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

At the beginning of 2023, the responsibility for organising health, social and rescue services will shift from municipalities to 21 new wellbeing services counties. Among the objectives of the reform are the improvement of the availability and accessibility of services as well as curbing the growth of costs.

Recent payroll glitches at the City of Helsinki have however caused concern regarding the payment of wages following the reform. 

For example, from January 2023, the wages of roughly 12,000 Central Finland employees will be paid by one entity instead of 20, which may bring some challenges.

"The biggest challenge is the transfer of staff data from the previously responsible companies to a common payroll system, while ensuring the correctness of the data. Another worry is the compatibility between different information systems," Eeva Aarnio from the human resources department of Central Finland's welfare area said.

She added that Central Finland is suffering from a shortage of human resources staff, which could affect the speed of handling possible payroll issues in the county.

After a payroll system update, both the cities of Helsinki and neighbouring Vantaa were hit by severe glitches leaving some employees without pay for months on end. Aarnio told Yle that she worried the same could happen as a result of the reform.

"Following Helsinki's problems, we've emphasised the need for risk assessment and backup plans. We have received a lot of good advice regarding the functionality of information systems from the capital region," the HR manager added, however.

The chief executive of the Central Finland division of payroll firm Monetra, Mari Soukka, said she was also optimistic the transition will go to plan. Monetra is responsible for the payments of Central Finland workers' wages.

"We are very confident that we will manage to allocate salaries on time and correctly," Soukka told Yle.

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