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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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TRADE UNION NEWS
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STTK: The framework agreement will improve employees’ security
amidst changes in working life
A summary of the framework agreement

STTK (24.10.2011) The framework agreement, signed by the labour market confederations, includes a framework for pay rises and measures aimed at improving the quality of working life. The goal of the agreement is to increase the purchasing power of salaried and wage earners, to enhance employment while at the same time adding an element of predictability, and thus stability, to the economy.

During the first 13 months wages and salaries are to be raised by 2.4 per cent and during the following 12 months by 1.9 per cent. In addition, employees are to be paid a lump-sum of EUR 150. The pay rises consist of the wage and salary increases and the cost impact of the other changes in working conditions.

The agreement will serve to improve the quality of working life. Employee security in respect of enterprise downsizing is to be strengthened, well-being at work will be improved and training opportunities will be expanded.

The agreement and the concomitant measures the State has promised take to underpin it are predicated on the labour market organisations winning broad approval for the agreement within various sectors. The sector-based negotiations, which apply the framework agreement, need to be finalized by November 24.

The board of the union confederation STTK approved the framework agreement unanimously on October 13. The qualitative improvements central to the STTK are as follows:

Family leaves

To harmonize working and family lives family leaves are to be developed so as to increase families' freedom of choice. Paternity leave will be extended to 54 days and families' right to schedule their paternity leaves will be improved. This reform is to take effect on 1 January 2013.

Alternation leave compensation

The government is committed to withdrawing its earlier plan to cut the alternation leave compensation. Thus, compensation would remain at between 70 and 80 per cent of the unemployment benefit. In addition, compensation is set to rise from 1 January 2012 following (and in line with) the increase in basic income security.

Unemployment security

Unemployment security would be improved in many ways. The agreement would make it easier for those temporarily laid-off and employees working in short-time employment relations to receive unemployment benefits. The reform would take effect from 1 January 2012. Periodisation of holiday compensation would be scrapped from 1 January 2013. This would speed up the unemployment benefit payments in the early days of unemployment.

Development of the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings

The Act on Co-operation within Undertakings would be amended - on a tripartite basis - developing the regulations on personnel plans. The aim would be to promote employees' flexible working hours, allowing them to be adapted to changing life situations and give employees the right to influence the use of temporary labour at their work places. The amendments would also support participation in working life of people whose work ability is restricted and add employees' entitlement to training during their work careers.

Equal pay

The impact of collective agreements on the pay gap between women and men would be evaluated and the parties would cooperate in implementing common conclusions. In addition, a tripartite study on pay reviews would be made.

Agency labour and fixed-time employment contracts

The aim is to intervene drawbacks in various ways of using labour force. Problems in agency labour contracts would be studied on a tripartite basis. As to the causes of temporary employment relations, the goal is to homogenize them in various forms of work. A study would be made also on the irregular working hours in so called 0-employment contracts (these do not guarantee the employee any minimum amount of working hours).

Training entitlements

Increasing employees' entitlement to training during their work careers would improve their security amidst changes in working life. According to the framework solution employees would be entitled to three days of training annually to improve their skills at work. Employees over 55 years of age could use these days to promote their work ability. The preparation would include studies on training entitlements, the activity of the Education Fund, the use of adult education support, and tax incentives available to companies.

Improving the occupational safety legislation

The occupational safety legislation would be amended - on the basis of tripartite preparation - to enable intervention when the workload becomes critical or too demanding for an individual employee.

Extension of work careers

Work careers would be extended by creating an age programme model for work places, by promoting, with a broad programme, utilisation of a partly able labour force in the labour market and by analysing the obstacles to the use of working hour banks.