Review of 2019
Managing Director’s review
The Fund’s first year in operation involved constant renewal.
The Fund’s new organisation was confirmed in early 2019. The Employment Fund was created by the merger of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Education Fund. The merger required a lot of work and long-term preparation, and the personnel of the funds played a key role. We spent the year laying the foundation for our operations and driving forward several development projects related to our statutory duties and targets derived from our strategy.
Work on the incomes register was done throughout the fund
The Employment Fund’s operations began at pace, as the merger coincided with
the introduction of the Incomes Register for assessing unemployment insurance contributions – a new approach that had been long in preparation. A new information system and customer-facing service for unemployment insurance contributions were deployed from the start of the year.
A new model based on actual earnings was introduced for assessing and invoicing for unemployment insurance contributions, and the model proved extremely popular. In the future, the Fund will need to consider whether it will continue offering the prepayment model, which is very rarely used.
In terms of adult education allowances, 2019 involved making preparations for the use of the Incomes Register. We renewed our internal processing system and our outward, customer-facing service. The next phase in the introduction of the Incomes Register is to transfer benefit details to the register. In this regard, the deadline was pushed back in 2019 when the State decided to postpone the introduction of benefit data on the Incomes Register to the beginning of 2021.
We serve as an expert in the development of adult education
We were involved in preparing a legal amendment concerning adult education allowances under the leadership of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Our experts provided the Employment Fund’s data to support the preparations. The most important goal of the planned amendment is to promote life-long learning by enabling a more effective combination of work and study. The law is expected to take effect on 1 August 2020.
Competence development and adult education form a substantial part of the Finnish Government’s programme. The Government’s programme also calls for an examination of whether the Employment Fund’s mission should be expanded to provide better support for maintaining and developing vocational competences among adults.
We will continue to actively monitor the legal amendment concerning adult
education allowances and the progress of the Government’s programme, and we will offer our expertise whenever we are called upon.
Good finances and trust among stakeholders
In 2019, the financial development of the Employment Fund was better than anticipated. Employment and economic growth continued, and this was reflected in a reduction in unemployment. However, signs of a slowdown began to emerge towards the end of the year. When the Employment Fund approved its budget for 2020, it estimated a minor increase in unemployment in 2020.
The surplus generated in 2019 – approximately EUR 700 million – means that the Fund’s cyclical buffer held a surplus of approximately EUR 1.7 billion at the turn of the year. We have good reason to be content with this, particularly when we recall the deficit facing the fund around five years ago.
In 2019, we studied the recognition and reputation of the Employment Fund among the general public and influencers. The results revealed that the public trusts us and we have the support of our stakeholders. However, we still have room for improvement in terms of recognition.
We achieved a great amount in 2019. The Fund’s personnel deserve thanks for a job well done. It has required determination and good cooperation – this is how we have managed to make changes in recent years. The Employment Fund will continue to reinforce its foundations and develop its operations in 2020. We can enter the new year in confident spirits.