Finland should look to migrant workers to support pension system

Finland should look to migrant workers in order to support the country’s pension system, according to Finnish Pension Alliance (Tela) managing director, Suvi-Anne Siimes.

Speaking on a panel debate at a seminar hosted by the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK) in Helsinki today, 4 February, she said that politicians look for “idiot proof” ways to increase the birth rate in Finland.

“There is no such thing that will give a certain solution. Young people, especially women, have more freedom to choose the way of their lives, and this is exactly how it should be. So, if we really want a better situation, we of course should turn our eyes to migration.”

She also referenced previous analysis by ETK that found a major increase in immigration would ease the pressure on Finnish pension finances. “I think it is easy to agree with this,” she said.

The panel debate followed a presentation from OECD leader of the Pensions and Population Ageing team in the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Hervé Boulhol , who presented the country findings for Finland from its latest Pensions at a Glance 2019 report, which was published in November last year.

Boulhol said that big reforms in Finland over the past three years have improved the system. However, he said the country needs to ensure that people do not retire too early. He noted that the employment rate falls sharply in the country for those over the age of 62.

The OECD report itself complimented Finland for its low old-age income inequalities, but expressed concerns about the low pension adequacy for self-employed people, a theme seen across Europe.

Commenting on the report, ETK director, Jaakko Kiander, said: “Pension income is based on the income earned during working life. Despite this, the old-age income inequality is comparatively low in Finland. The Finnish pension system has successfully combined the earnings principle with the goals of income distribution.”

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