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Finland's 'activation model' brings benefit cuts for 94,000 people

Nearly half of those affected by stricter rules on unemployment benefit saw their payments cut after the first monitoring period.

Aktiivimallin vastainen mielenosoitus Helsingin Senaatintorilla.
Finland saw big protests against the so-called 'activation model' in February. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Some 49.8 percent of the 190,000 people affected by Finland's new 'activation model' rules saw their benefits cut after the first three-month monitoring period, according to new figures from the Social Insurance Institution Kela.

Jobless benefit recipients have to perform 18 hours of paid work, join an approved training scheme or invoice at least 241 euros as an entrepreneur to avoid the cuts. That proved to be beyond around 94,000 people, according to Kela's estimates.

They will face benefit cuts amounting to 4.65 percent of their monthly payments. That means a cut of 32.40 euros in the 696 euros paid each month.

The figures do not include those receiving income-related unemployment benefits, which are paid for the first 400 days of unemployment provided a worker is a member of one of Finland's unemployment insurance funds.

A citizens' initiative to abolish the rules mandating benefit cuts quickly passed the 50,000 signature threshold for parliamentary consideration, and was passed to the speaker in March.

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