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Govt buries controversial reform to ease hiring under-30-year-olds for gig work

The government still wants to move forward with legislation to make it easier for small businesses to shed workers.

Joona Visuri rakennustyömaalla.
Image: Kalle Niskala / Yle

Government plans to withdraw legal reforms aimed at reducing youth unemployment by making it easier for firms to hire under-30-year-old jobseekers to fill temporary positions.

The reform targetted under-30-year-old people who had been unemployed for fewer than three months, and proposed that they should be hired for fixed-term jobs without any other special grounds.

However in a statement released on Thursday, the government said that it would terminate the planned changes.

“It would have been possible to create a model that complied with constitutional and international obligations, but it would have been heavy on bureaucracy and its impact would have been weak,” the statement declared.

Labour Minister Jari Lindström also commented on the move in his blog.

“Some people will probably be happy that this reform will no longer move forward, but I am not. The purpose of the measure was to help unemployed young people get a foothold in the workplace and no one would likely oppose that. Unfortunately, we could not come up with a functional and effective model that would at the same time meet the very justifiable conditions laid down by constitutional and international obligations,” he added.

According to Lindström, the government will draw up new policies to tackle youth unemployment in time for the next round of budget talks.

Severance protection bill moving forward

Meanwhile another measure aimed at boosting employment among young people – a bill that would make it easier for companies with 20 or fewer employees to shed workers – has advanced to the commenting stage.

Currently, retrenching workers would only be possible after an employee has first received a warning over alleged misconduct. However under the proposed reform, employers would no longer have to offer an employee other work before terminating a job contract.

Lindström justified the change by pointing out that small businesses generate the majority of jobs.

“I understand very well that we [have to be] quite sensitive about acting on this. The grounds for firing workers should also be able to withstand scrutiny in the future. We have a constitution and international agreements that determine how people should be sacked,” Lindström said.

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