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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Personal helpers for seriously disabled persons now have
a collective agreement


JHL (26.10.2010 - Juhani Artto) As of Monday a new group of employees received their first collective agreement (in force from 1.12 2010 to 30.4.2012). The agreement covers almost 1,000 personal helpers attending to seriously disabled persons. The agreement regulates compensation for overtime, evening, night and Saturday work, for working hours and for many other things.

The parties are due to agree on wages by the end of February 2011. Currently most personal helpers earn from EUR7 to EUR10 per hour.

Under the agreement, the employees are represented by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and the employers by The Personal Helpers' Employer Association Heta, founded in 2005. Heta's members are disabled persons who employ personal helpers independently. Right now, Heta has about 400 such members. On average, they employ two or two point five personal helpers.

The agreement is not of a generally binding character as only a minority of the employers are currently organized in the employer association Heta. However, Jarmo Tiri, the President of Heta, believes that the collective agreement will speed up the organizing of seriously disabled persons and encourage them to join the employer organisation, which is there to represent them.

In Finland, current legislation guarantees seriously disabled persons personal aid. There are approximately 6,000 individuals entitled to this aid. The purpose of the legislation is to enable those who fall into this category to be in a position to manage daily routines, to work and study, to participate in social life and to have hobbies.

The legislation, as it now stands, obliges municipalities to finance personal aid in accordance with what the legislation has laid down. The law speaks about "moderate" expenses, and very often seriously disabled persons prefer to exercise their right to hire personal helpers - directly employed, as it were.

However, the municipality has the right to choose other options. In which case, the municipality itself can be the employer of the personal helpers or the municipality may choose to provide the disabled persons with vouchers to buy the necessary services from aid providers.