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Govt mulls action plan to combat labour exploitation

Published : 13 Sep 2023, 23:32

  DF Report
Photo: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will prepare an action plan to prevent and combat labour exploitation by the end of this year, said the ministry in a press release on Wednesday.

A steering group appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will coordinate measures to prevent and combat work-related exploitation throughout the government term.

The steering group will monitor the implementation of the action plan, which will contain legislative drafting and other measures and their timetables for preventing work-related exploitation undertaken in different ministries.

The action plan will be prepared this year by a working group guided by the steering group. Both groups consist of representatives of different ministries. The working group will collaborate closely with the Advisory Board for Terms of Employment and Permit Supervision of Foreign Workers and Entrepreneurs, in which the social partners are also represented.

In recent years, a record number of cases or suspected cases of work-related exploitation have been exposed in Finland. New forms of work also create new forms of labour exploitation, said the ministry.

“Promoting work-based immigration in a sustainable manner requires that we prevent and actively combat the exploitation of foreign labour. One of our first measures during this government term is to draw up an extensive action plan that includes tighter penalties for abuse and more effective supervision,” Minister of Employment Arto Satonen said.

The government aims to tackle the exploitation of foreign labour with broad-based and effective measures. Measures are needed in the countries of origin, in the residence permit procedure as well as in supervision and inter-authority cooperation after the residence permit holders have entered Finland.

Punishments will be increased for example, aggravated usury in employment would result in imprisonment.

The government will improve opportunities for cooperation between the public authorities by ensuring that the authorities have the right to obtain and provide information on their own initiative, for example.

In addition, occupational safety and health resources will be targeted more efficiently. Finally, the Government will create a registration obligation for invoicing companies in order to crack down on opportunities to disguise employment relationships as business activities.

It has also been recognised in the work against labour exploitation that abuse must be identified and detected better and that the position of foreign workers must be improved by promoting their integration and social inclusion. Employers’ social responsibility and awareness should also be increased.

In addition to exploitation in employment relationships, wild berry picking and the status of foreign pickers currently involve significant risks. The need for new solutions will be taken into account in the preparation of the action plan.