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Employment Fund launches change negotiations

NEWS 29.2.2024 11.27

The discontinuation of the adult education allowance and scholarships for qualified employees will mean significant operational changes for the Employment Fund, forcing it to adapt its activities.  
Prime Minister Orpo’s Government Programme has stated that the adult education allowance will be discontinued in August 2024. It was announced later that the scholarship for qualified employees would also be discontinued. Their discontinuation requires a legislative amendment, which the Parliament must approve. The Government proposal to Parliament on legislation concerning the discontinuation of the adult education allowance, scholarships for qualified employees and job alternation leave (HE 8/2024) was laid down on 15 February 2024. 
According to the proposal, legislation to discontinue adult education allowance and scholarships for qualified employees would come into force on 1 June 2024. After this, adult education allowance could only be granted for studies that begin before 1 August 2024. The transitional period would last until the end of 2025, during which it would be possible to apply for additional entitlement and payment if both the studies and allowance period started no later than 31 July 2024. Final applications must have been received by 31 March 2026. According to the Government proposal, scholarships for qualified employees could be granted on the basis of a qualification completed by 31 July 2024. The scholarships should be applied for within one year of completing the qualification.  
If the changes to the law as proposed by the Government are implemented as they stand, they are expected to have a significant impact on the tasks and functions of Employment Fund and the amount of work available. 
Employment Fund is launching change negotiations affecting all its personnel, except those in the Technology and Development service area. Employment Fund employees 182 people, 156 of whom will be affected by the negotiations.  
The restructuring plan for the possible discontinuation of adult education allowance and the plan for the organisation of Employment Fund, as well as future staffing arrangements for activities and jobs that may result from the restructuring of production and the employer's operations, will be the subject of the change negotiations. The other statutory tasks of Employment Fund will remain unchanged.  
According to a preliminary estimate, the planned measures, if implemented, could lead to the termination of up to 80 existing posts and possible redundancies. The service areas most affected by potential changes are Customer Relations and People and Communications. There may also be substantial or minor changes to job descriptions or the conversion of full-time jobs to part-time ones in these and other service areas affected by the negotiations. The planned reorganisation may also lead to changes in job titles, team structures and reporting chains.  
- The impact of the change negotiations will be significant for the Employment Fund. The aim of the negotiations is to bring about changes and reorganisations that will bring the Employment Fund's organisation into line with the future workload and Employment Fund's strategy. What makes the situation difficult for both the employer and the employees is that the legislation is still being drafted and the effects would only come into force over a long period of time during 2024–2026, says Managing Director Janne Metsämäki.  

- We always strive to be the best possible employer for our personnel. We will support all our personnel as much as possible during the situation of change. As an employer, we want to act responsibly so that people at risk of redundancy can move on to new job opportunities if we have to let them go. The customer is very important to Employment Fund, so our goal is to ensure a good customer experience and smooth services both during and after the change, says Katja Knaapila, Director, People and Communications.