Finland Government’s Assistance Did Not Help Boost Employment

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. fixed / fɪkst / (adj) – not changing

    He doesn’t get more or less than $500 monthly because his income is fixed.

  2. out of a job / aʊt ɑːv ə dʒɑːb / (idiom) – without a job

    Many people are out of a job because the economy is bad right now.

  3. monetary / ˈmɑːnəˌteri / (adj) – related to money

    The government is providing monetary assistance to the poor.

  4. overall / ˌoʊvɚˈɑːl / (adj) – including everything; as a whole

    Exercise strengthens both the mind and the body, so it’s good for your overall health.

  5. limitation / ˌlɪməˈteɪʃən / (n) – a weakness or disadvantage

    One of the limitations of the feeding program was that it could provide for only 200 people per day.


Read the text below.

Finland’s universal basic income (UBI) experiment did not help unemployed people get jobs, according to the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

The UBI, also known as basic income, is a system wherein the government gives a fixed monthly financial assistance to all citizens regardless of their employment status. Countries that had previously implemented UBI trials include Kenya, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Finland’s trial, however, used a variation of this system. Instead of making the UBI available to everyone, the Finnish government gave money only to some people who are out of a job. This was done to see if the UBI would help unemployed people find work.

The experiment involved 7,000 jobless Finns who received unemployment benefits from the government. Starting January 2017 until December 2018, 2,000 of the participants were given €560 (around $630) every month. During the same time, 5,000 unemployed Finns got only non-monetary assistance.

According to Kela’s assessment, the UBI did not encourage those who received money to find jobs more than those who received only non-monetary benefits. Nonetheless, the UBI made the recipients much happier and healthier, which had a positive impact on their overall well-being.

Despite the results, one researcher believes that the experiment was not a failure. He argued that the trial provided more useful information about the UBI.

Kela continues to analyze the study’s findings to further assess the advantages and limitations of implementing a UBI scheme. The experiment’s final report is set to be published in 2020.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think many of the unemployed participants were still unable to find jobs despite receiving monetary assistance from the government? Discuss.
• In what ways should unemployed people use the money that they receive through the UBI program?

Discussion B

• Do you think the government should give monthly financial support to unemployed people? Why or why not?
• Other than monetary assistance, what other forms of assistance should the government give to unemployed people? Discuss.