Finland: negotiating tripartite compromises

Johanna Lammi-Taskula and Pentti Takala

in The politics of parental leave policies

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9781847420671
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303961 | DOI:
Finland: negotiating tripartite compromises

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For the past four decades, employers and employee organisations have played a pivotal role in the designing of social policy in Finland. These central labour market organisations have been involved in decisions about taxes, wages, and social benefits including working times and schemes supporting work-family reconciliation. Social reforms were promised by the state in exchange for moderate pay settlements that would promote competitiveness and employment. From an international perspective, Finland is a mixed case of relationships between social partners and political institutions. The design of pension policy and social policy in general has partly followed both the Scandinavian and Central European models, but in the area of parental leave policy, the corporatist model of tripartite negotiations has led the way. This chapter aims to examine how labour market partners have influenced the development of family policy and leave policy since the 1960s. It attempts to answer the key question: why has the role of social partners been so strong in Finland. It is argued that institutional conditions were less favourable to labour organisations working through the political system, with the Social Democratic Party in a weaker position than in other Nordic countries and the Agrarian Union, the main political power in Finland, able to obstruct social reforms demanded by labour organisations. Given these political conditions, workers' organisations have regarded the labour market arena as offering more possibilities than the political one. In this chapter, interviews are conducted with officials from two central employees' organisations and one central employers' organisation.

Keywords: employers; employee organisations; social policy; Finland; work-family reconciliation; parental leave policy

Chapter.  7985 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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