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Monday's papers: Young people who don't want to work, growing illicit employment and a break for school kids

Our Monday paper review includes continued coverage of a story that broke on Friday about millennials that shirk jobs. It also looks at illegal workers in Finland and the annual autumn break from school.

Image: Yle

The tabloid Iltalehti starts out the week with more coverage of a topic that exploded on the scene Friday.

39-year-old Ossi Nyman told the country's leading daily Helsingin Sanomat he has never worked and has no intention of ever finding work (siirryt toiseen palveluun). He makes a living off of his unemployment allowance – well, at least he did until the authorities read the HS story. The Uusimaa TE employment office soon announced that the aspiring author's benefits would be suspended while they investigate.

Public backlash to his choice to live off of state money instead of find gainful work has been heated. Unemployment benefits in Finland are intended as stopgap measures for people who intend to return to the job market. If the recipient has no intention of finding work, it is considered an abuse of the system to take the money, IL writes.

An affront to human dignity

Over the weekend, the tabloid contacted several other "ideologically unemployed" young people (siirryt toiseen palveluun), who say they sympathize with Nyman. Kokkola resident Sonja Hakala is 30. She has been unemployed her entire adult life. She dropped out of upper secondary school due to illness, and gets by on her labour market subsidy and housing benefit. She says she hasn't even tried to get work for a long time, as she knows she can count on either the subsidy or sickness allowance to pay the bills.

She says the "rehabilitative work activity" she has been assigned over the years has made her not want to do any more. One position had her licking envelopes all day.

"You're paid eight euros a day. They are humiliating places that are an affront to human dignity," Hakala tells the paper. "If they paid people a minimum wage or even 80 percent of the standard salary, and there was a chance for advancement, it might encourage people to work more."

Like Nyman, she tells IL that she doesn't want to use all of her free time for work, because then she won't have time to do the things she likes to do. 

"I'm not 'normal employee' material, but I could work temporarily somewhere if the pay was better," she says.

Not enough free time

A 30-year-old man who wishes to stay anonymous tells IL that he has been unemployed for 10 years. He started studies at a vocational college, but lost his motivation. Like Hakala, he makes ends meet with his state-granted labour market subsidy and housing benefit. He has never worked full-time.

"I don't want to go to work. I have never sent in a job application for a position and the employment office has never steered me towards a job I could apply for, probably because I don't have training," he tells the tabloid.

He says that if he was to work, he would prefer a part-time job. He says a full-time job would not necessarily improve his life quality, and would leave him with too little free time.

15% of monitored work sites in the south use illicit labour

Continuing on the work theme, the southwestern paper Turun Sanomat reports this Monday that the percentage of illicit work taking place in Finland has grown (siirryt toiseen palveluun). According to the Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI), the construction, hospitality and cleaning sectors have seen the largest increase.

Illicit workers are people that can be either legally or illegally in the country, but have deficiencies with regard to their work or residence permits. Citizens of most European countries are not required to have a work permit in order to work in Finland. 

Although there has been a lot of talk about rejected asylum seekers staying in the country and working illegally, the AVI study did not find evidence of large numbers of these kinds of workers.

"On construction sites, the most abuses occur from people who are working in Finland with work permits from other EU countries: for example, people with an Estonian residence permit who come to Finland to work," Southern Finland's AVI inspector Katja-Pia Jenu tells the paper.

AVI carried out 161 inspections in Finland last year that resulted in fines for illicit workers, accounting for less than 6 percent of all of the workplaces that AVI monitors because of foreign labour use. In southern Finland, this percentage jumped to 15 percent.

A welcome break from school

And the newspaper Kaleva out of Oulu reports that today is the first day of a week-long autumn break for many school children in Finland (siirryt toiseen palveluun). The larger cities of Helsinki, Tampere, Vaasa, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Joensuu and Rovaniemi all begin the break now, while students in Turku, Porvoo and Kirkkonummi, for instance, have to wait until Thursday, and only have a two-day break.

Cities in the other regions of Finland begin their week-long or two-day break next week.