ESPN Thematic Report on Access to Social Protection of People Working as Self-Employed or on Non-Standard Contracts
If we focus on employees, the Finnish story of development of standard and non-standard employment is one of continuity. Some 80% of males and 70% of females have permanent full-time jobs. Part-time employment has only marginally increased during the last two or three decades. However, if we look at development patterns in self-employment, we find a clear increase since the early 1990s.
In principle, the Finnish social security system is universal – whether for both benefits in kind and benefits in cash - and it does not distinguish between employees and the self-employed. Hence, at least in principle, all forms of employment are covered. Furthermore, benefits calculations are mainly homogenised. For example, pensions are calculated more or less in the same way, but due to differences in careers and incomes, which form the basis for pension calculations, outcomes in terms of the actual level of pensions are significantly lower among the self-employed than among employees.
Self-employment being characterised by odd working hours, the self-employed have difficulties in reconciling work and family life, their income stream is more sporadic, their income levels are lower and holidays shorter, compared to employees. In terms of relative income measures, the incidence of poverty among the self-employed is higher than among employees (more than 10% vs. less than 5%). However, there are no differences in experienced financial difficulties, health status or in the degree of life satisfaction.
The coverage of social benefit schemes may be universal, but there are holes in the safety-net. In some cases the self-employed are voluntarily insured against work accidents and unemployment, but while all employees are insured against accidents at work, the rate is much lower among the self-employed. Some 90% of full-time employees have income-related unemployment insurance, whereas among the self-employed it is only about 20%. Some free-lancers, academics and creative persons living on grants cannot obtain income-related unemployment insurance. In the case of unemployment, the self-employed and other persons without full coverage are entitled to the ‘basic benefits’ paid by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Oftentimes differences in benefits levels are substantial.
- the government should set up a special expert group to analyse the extent to which the coming social and healthcare reform will change the prevailing mode of labour contracts.
- possibilities for expanding the coverage of income-related unemployment benefits should be investigated – including in relation to many free-lancers and persons living on academic and artistic grants, who lack access to proper unemployment protection.
- A ‘combination insurance’ making it possible to simultaneously insure income from paid labour and from self-employment should be implemented.
Olli Kangas, Laura Kalliomaa-Puha
- Vertaisarvioitu: ei.
- Avoin saatavuus: kyllä.
- Koko viite: Kangas, O., & Kalliomaa-Puha, L. (2017). ESPN Thematic Report on Access to Social Protection of People Working as Self-Employed or on Non-Standard Contracts. European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=17693&langId=en