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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Ministry for Foreign Affairs press release
European Committee of Social Rights announces its decision on minimum social security provision in Finland

Ministry for Foreign AffairsMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 10.5.2017 11.00
Press release 66

The European Committee of Social Rights published a decision on 9 May stating that the minimum level of social security benefits is insufficient in Finland for over-45-year-old persons who have been laid off and who receive labour market subsidy and general housing allowance.

The decision is based on a comparison between the national average income and the levels of labour market subsidy in 2014 and average general housing allowance paid in 2013. The Committee deemed the level of minimum benefits too low to cover the beneficiaries’ basic needs as required by the European Social Charter. The decision is based on two benefits, the basic amount of income support and the calculated average housing allowance. It does not take into account basic social assistance and possible supplementary components.

Finland considers that the examination of the sufficiency of minimum protection in Finland should take into account the social security system as a whole, containing both cash benefits and benefits in kind such as services, payment ceilings and concessions for client fees. Cash benefits are composed of  labour market subsidy and, as regards housing allowance and social assistance, an assessment of the beneficiary’s personal need for financial support.

The Committee’s decision will be addressed next in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The European Social Charter is an international agreement that guarantees the realisation of social rights in Europe. The rights set out in the Charter shall be guaranteed by the States Parties to all people within their jurisdiction without discrimination. Compliance with the Charter is monitored under two mechanisms: through national reports drawn up by the States Parties and through collective complaints lodged by social partners and other non-governmental organisations to the European Committee of Social Rights.

Inquiries:

Maija Iles, Senior Officer for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63237
Marjaana Maisonlahti, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63288 (labour market support)
Jaakko Ellisaari, Senior Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63305 (social assistance)
Krista Oinonen, Director, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 172 (European Social Charter)

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