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The politics of parental leave policiesChildren, parenting, gender and the labour market$
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Sheila Kamerman and Peter Moss

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420671

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420671.001.0001

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Finland: negotiating tripartite compromises

Finland: negotiating tripartite compromises

(p.87) Six Finland: negotiating tripartite compromises
The politics of parental leave policies

Johanna Lammi-Taskula

Pentti Takala

Policy Press

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

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