The aim of Suomen Yrittäjät is to reform the labour market system to improve employment and reduce unemployment. Reforms are necessary to secure and fund social welfare and to look after the most disadvantaged.
The Finnish labour market is clearly less flexible than labour markets in competing countries. Any flexibility in the labour market is mostly aimed at easing unemployment. Tailored, job-specific solutions concerning salary, working time and more would bring about effective changes faster and more smoothly.
Suomen Yrittäjät calls for legal reinforcement of on-the-job employment terms agreements. This would secure employment and growth. Employees and the entrepreneur must be given the opportunity to agree on reasonable solutions concerning work, salary and the organization of working hours and free time so the arrangement is as reasonable as possible given employees’ needs and production and business efficiency of production and business operations. This will increase productivity.
Enterprises subject to a generally binding collective bargaining agreement must be granted the same flexibilities as those available to organized enterprises. Establishing agreements is a joint concern in the workplace, and a section of the employees should not be excluded from this. Current legislation often prevents local agreements in enterprises subject to a generally binding collective agreement. The reason for this is that if the parties to the collective agreement have allowed for local agreements on certain matters provided for by law, making such agreements is only legally possible for members of employers’ associations. Suomen Yrittäjät calls for the bans to be lifted and unorganized enterprises to be given equal status with organized enterprises. Agreements cannot work in practice if only the employees belonging to a trade union may take part in making the agreement and choosing an employees’ representative. The law should not discriminate against unorganized employees. The lifting of the bans would simultaneously abolish almost 50 regulations which prevent agreements.
Another key structural reform would be to facilitate employment by making it easier to dismiss employees on individual grounds. Such legislation is already being prepared. The individual grounds basis, which is too strict, makes employers less willing to hire employees, especially in the smallest enterprises. The smaller the enterprise, the more damaging the consequences of unsuccessful recruitment are.
Suomen Yrittäjät has achieved many of its goals for improving the labour market. At the start of 2017, legal amendments entered into force extending probation periods and allowing fixed-term employment of no more than one year when hiring a long-term unemployed person. At the same time, the obligation of an employer to re-employ an employee* was shortened from nine months to four, as a general rule. Parliament dismissed a citizens’ initiative demanding a minimum legal weekly working time of 18 hours for part-time work. Suomen Yrittäjät explicitly objected to the acceptance of the citizens’ initiative. SY ensured that hiring people under zero-hour contracts will remain possible.
*The obligation to re-employ means that an employer must offer a job to a former employee whom the employer has dismissed on financial and production-related grounds and who is still seeking a job via the TE Office, if the employer is seeking employees for the same or a similar position in which the dismissed employee has been.