Government agrees on principles of training guarantee for long-term unemployed people

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The Finnish Government has recently agreed on some of the principles of a "training guarantee" scheme, starting with funding for a training allowance for long-term unemployed people.

At the beginning of April 1997, the Cabinet Economic Policy Committee agreed on some principles for the so-called "training guarantee". As a first step, the Government will finance a training allowance for long-term unemployed people, which becomes operative during this year. It is estimated that there are some 61,000 long-term unemployed people entitled to receive the allowance, around 8,000 of whom are expected to participate in training. FIM 300 million has been reserved for this purpose for the current year.

In order to qualify for this training allowance, long-term unemployed people must have had 12 years of pensionable employment during the last 18 years. The allowance, equal to their unemployment benefit, will be operative for two years. If recipients pursue a professional training course, even as a result of their own initiative, they are required to study for a period of between 20 and 30 weeks. The government scheme will finish at the end of 1999.

The training allowance is the first step in establishing a government-financed training guarantee. A working group led by the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Sinikka Mönkäre, will continue to set out the principles of the scheme and is due to report by the beginning of August 1997.

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