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2022 budget proposal for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its branch of government

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
27.9.2021 11.40 | Published in English on 27.9.2021 at 16.16
Press release 279/2021

The Government proposes appropriations of about EUR 15.9 billion for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its administrative branch for 2022. This is about EUR 1.9 billion less than in the 2021 Budget. The decrease is mainly due to one-off payments to compensate for the costs caused by COVID-19 to the healthcare and welfare service system.

The family leave system and survivors’ pensions will be reformed, health and social services developed and the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility implemented. In addition, unemployment security will be reformed when the Nordic labour market service model is introduced.

Of the appropriations for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its branch of government, 32 per cent will be allocated to pensions, 28 per cent to offsetting family and housing costs and to basic social assistance and 16 per cent to unemployment security. Health insurance will account for 14 per cent, healthcare and social welfare organised by municipalities for 3 per cent and grants for the promotion of health and social wellbeing for 2 per cent of the appropriations. 

Progress made in seven-day cap on waiting times for access to care

In the autumn 2021 budget session, the Government decided that the maximum waiting times for access to primary healthcare would be shortened from the current three months to seven days. This means that in future access to non-urgent care must be arranged within seven days of the assessment of the need for care.

For the purpose of shortening the maximum waiting times, a spending limits provision of EUR 50 million will be made for 2023 in addition to the funding already included in the General Government Fiscal Plan. A decision on the entire funding will be made in connection with the General Government Fiscal Plan for 2023–2026. The date of submitting the government proposal on the maximum waiting times for access to care will be decided by the end of October 2021.
The new legislation on quicker access to care will enter into force during this government term.

Direct costs arising from COVID-19 to be reimbursed

In accordance with the General Government Fiscal Plan, all direct costs arising from the COVID-19 epidemic, such as expenditure related to testing, higher testing capacity, contact tracing, quarantines, patient care, travel-related health security, and vaccination, are being fully covered as expenditure outside the spending limits in the period 2021—2023. Such costs that are in line with Finland’s coronavirus strategy will be reimbursed in full for as long as is required by the epidemiological situation and for implementing the coronavirus strategy.

Nordic labour market service model to be introduced in 2022

The Government proposes EUR 2.6 billion for unemployment security. This is about EUR 0.3 billion less than in the 2021 Budget. The decrease is due to the estimated fall in the number of unemployed and laid-off people.

With regard to unemployment security, account has been taken of the introduction of the Nordic labour market service model on 1 May 2022. In this model, jobseekers will apply for work on their own initiative and receive individual and intensive support for their job search at an earlier stage. At the same time, sanctions on unemployment security will be staggered and made more reasonable, which is estimated to increase unemployment security expenditure. Jobseekers will be required to apply for a certain number of jobs in order to continue their right to receive unemployment security. A jobseeker will receive a reminder in the first case of forgetfulness or neglect. If the jobseeker fails to fulfil the obligation to seek employment again after receiving the reminder, this will result in a five-day sanction period when they will not receive unemployment benefits. If this happens again, they will lose benefits for 10 days. The model is estimated to increase the central government's share of unemployment security expenditure by EUR 16.7 million in 2022 and by EUR 25.0 million from 2023 onwards.

An appropriation of EUR 1.15 million is proposed for labour market training leading to a higher education degree. 

Family leave reform improves equality between parents

The family leave reform is estimated to increase central government expenditure by EUR 1.0 million in 2022 and by approximately EUR 9.0 million from 2024 onwards.

The intention is that the reform will take effect on 1 August 2022. The aim of the reform is to improve equality between the parents and equality and non-discrimination between different forms of families and between children and parents living in different types of families. Allowances for parents during family leaves would be paid on the basis of the same child for a total of 360 working days, i.e. for approximately 14.5 months instead of the current period of nearly 13 months. Before becoming entitled to parental allowance, pregnant women would receive pregnancy allowance for 40 working days. Both parents would be entitled to the same number of allowance days, but if they so wished, they could transfer a maximum of 63 allowance days from their own quota to the other parent or spouse. Daily allowances days could be used at any time until the child reaches the age of two.

Reform of survivors’ pension

The reform of survivors’ pension is estimated to increase central government expenditure by EUR 0.3 million in 2022 and by approximately EUR 1.0 million at the end of the budget planning period. The reform will enter into force at the beginning of 2022. The reform proposes that the child’s right to a survivors’ pension be extended by two years, in which case the right to a child's pension would end when the child reaches the age of 20. It is proposed that the right to a widow's pension be limited to 10 years or at least until the youngest of those entitled to a child's pension reaches the age of 18. In addition, it is proposed that the widow’s pension be also paid to a cohabiting partner who has a child with the deceased.

The Government proposes an appropriation of EUR 5.0 billion in total for funding pensions. This is EUR 1.2 billion less than in 2021. This reduction is due to needs assessment changes.

More funding for basic social assistance and health insurance

A sum of EUR 4.5 billion is proposed for offsetting family and housing costs and for basic social assistance and certain other services. This is EUR 10.0 million more than in 2021. The increase is mainly due to needs assessment changes and the rise in the operating expenses of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

Altogether, EUR 490.5 million is proposed for the operating expenses of the Social Insurance Institution. This is EUR 9.2 million more than in 2021. In addition to the increase in pension costs and changes in the earnings level, the operating expenses take into account the development of benefit and other services for clients. 

The proposal of the Ministry of Education and Culture to increase the number of student places in higher education and practical nurse training will increase general housing allowance expenditure by EUR 24.2 million.

An appropriation of EUR 2.1 billion is proposed for funding health insurance. This is approximately EUR 40.0 million less than in 2021. It is proposed that the temporary legislative amendments that have enabled the compensation of COVID-19 research and vaccines from health insurance be continued until 30 June 2022. This is estimated to increase health insurance costs by a total of EUR 5.7 million. The central government’s share of the costs amounts to approximately EUR 4 million.

The assessment of work ability during the sickness allowance period will be developed based on the proposals of the rehabilitation committee. One of these proposals would increase the number of sickness allowance period checkpoints to assess the need for rehabilitation, the remaining work ability and the possibilities for continuing working. The proposal is estimated to increase central government funding towards health insurance expenditure by EUR 0.25 million in the year of its entry into force and by EUR 0.5 million annually. In addition, central government transfers to local government are expected to increase by EUR 1 million due to the higher number of medical certificates issued by physicians.

To promote the employment of young people, account will be taken of the exempt amount of conscripts’ allowance. Thus, only part of the earned and entrepreneurial income of a conscript in active service will be taken into account when determining the conscript’s allowance. The proposal will increase central government expenditure by EUR 0.2 million.

Improvement in health and social services

It is proposed that EUR 542.0 million be allocated for healthcare and social welfare services organised by municipalities under the main title of expenditure of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. This is approximately EUR 1.5 billion less than in 2021. The reduction is due to EUR 1.6 billion allocated to the healthcare and social welfare system in the 2021 Budget as one-off payments to compensate for the costs caused by COVID-19.

A appropriation of EUR 24.6 million is proposed for shelter activities. A total of 1.5 million has been reserved for urgent social services for persons who are not covered by reception services under the Aliens Act.

The Government will award a government grant of EUR 33.0 million to FinnHEMS Oy for helicopter emergency medical services. The sum is EUR 5.2 million more than in 2021. This is due to increasing the number of helicopter stations from six to eight.

The Government will allocate EUR 65.8 million in funding to student healthcare provided by the Finnish Student Health Service.

Development of health and social services

The Government proposes EUR 132.8 million for the development of health and social services. This is EUR 4.5 more than in 2021. Of this increase, EUR 3.0 million will go to the project on well-functioning rehabilitation in healthcare and social welfare. Of the appropriation, EUR 20.0 million will be allocated for the development of child and family services. An appropriation of EUR 3.0 million has been reserved for services for mothers suffering from substance abuse. 

The projects to develop social and health services will focus on: 1) safeguarding access to basic public services, for example by dismantling the backlog in treatment and services and coordinating clients’ paths between social and health services, 2) improving the care and treatment of older people by developing informal care and home care and drawing up a cross-administrative programme on ageing, and 3) preparing a national cross-administrative mental health strategy. 

It is proposed that a total of EUR 134 million from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Plan funding be allocated to the main title of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, of which EUR 125 million would be allocated for dismantling the backlog in treatment, rehabilitation and services in healthcare and social welfare and for speeding up access to care and EUR 9 million for the services supporting work ability and the measures used to strengthen mental health and work ability.

Health sector growth strategy

An appropriation of EUR 1.5 million is proposed for implementing the growth strategy for the health and social services sector. The strategy will support the development of national centres of excellence. The centres of excellence refer to the National Cancer Centre, Neurocenter Finland and the biobanks, as well as the Genome Centre and Drug Development Centre already in preparation.

Promotion of health and functional ability

An appropriation of EUR 37.8 million in total is proposed for measures to promote health and functional ability. 

Development of information management and Kanta services in healthcare and social welfare

It is proposed that a total of EUR 36.6 million be allocated to the development of national information management in healthcare and social welfare. This is EUR 6.2 million more than in 2021. The sum will be used, for example, to continue the development of Kanta services and the reform of information production.

An appropriation of EUR 4.0 million is proposed for the preparation of the roadmap for pharmaceutical matters.

Other research and education

A total of EUR 121 million is proposed for university-level research in healthcare and social work and for central government reimbursement to health and social services units for the specialised training of healthcare and social welfare personnel. An appropriation of EUR 25.0 million is proposed for research and EUR 96.0 million for specialised training. 

Support for war veterans, conscripts and their families

An appropriation of EUR 192.7 million is proposed for the support of war veterans. This is EUR 48.6 million less than in 2021. The main reason for the decrease is that there are fewer veterans every year. 

Of this sum, EUR 43.6 million will be allocated for military injuries indemnities, EUR 20.0 million for the operating costs of institutions for war invalids, EUR 7.7 million for front-line veterans’ supplements and EUR 118.2 million for the rehabilitation of front-line veterans and services provided in their homes.

An appropriation of EUR 2.1 million will be reserved for the rehabilitation of disabled veterans’ spouses, widows and war widows, for the rehabilitation of those who served in certain war-time tasks and for a front-line allowance for certain foreign volunteer front-line soldiers. An appropriation of EUR 1.1 million is proposed for the central government’s compensation for the care of those who suffered in the wars.

Consideration for farmers project to be continued

ln accordance with the Government Programme, the Välitä viljelijästä (Consideration for farmers) project, which supports farmers to cope, will be continued until the end of the government term. In addition, the continuity of this model will be assessed.

Grants to associations and foundations

The Government proposes an appropriation of EUR 332.7 million for grants to associations and foundations to help them promote health and social wellbeing. The sum is EUR 29.7 million less than in 2021. This is due to the drop in Veikkaus Oy’s estimated proceeds. The appropriation takes into account EUR 34.4 million resulting from a lower lottery tax, EUR 50.0 million from the dissolution of non-distributed proceeds in the balance sheet and EUR 58.5 million as on-budget compensation.

Government agencies and public bodies

The Government proposes an appropriation of EUR 188 million for the operating expenses of the government agencies and public bodies within the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. An appropriation increase of EUR 0.14 million is proposed for the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health to improve information security and data protection in the critical sectors of society. An appropriation of EUR 2.2 million is proposed for the data permit authority for healthcare and social welfare.

Inquiries  

Jiri Sironen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 410 (general questions)
Matti Hirvola, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 603 (general questions)
Jenny Suominen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 109 (general questions)
Anna Abrahamsson, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 150 029 (general questions, gender equality)
Kirsi Varhila, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 295 163 338 (health and social services reform and service system)
Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, tel. +358 295 163 280 (pharmaceutical services, vaccination programme, vaccine procurement, environmental health)
Satu Koskela, Director General, tel. +358 295 163 380 (status of clients and patients, services)
Heli Backman, Director General, tel. +358 295 163 668 (social insurance matters)
Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director General, tel. +358 295 163 425 (health and social services for children, young people and families, promotion of functioning and health, Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations STEA)
Kari Hakari, Director General, tel. +358 259 163 642 (health and social services reform, service system)
Liisa Siika-aho, Director, tel. +358 295 163 085 (social insurance matters, benefits)
Jaana Rissanen, Director, tel. +358 295 163 011 (guarantee pension, compensations for military accidents)
Essi Rentola, Director, tel. +358 295 163 155 (residence-based social security)
Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Director of Strategic Affairs, tel. +358 295 163 382 (Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation Activities)
Taru Koivisto, Director, tel. +358 295 163 323 (appropriations for health promotion)
Mikko Staff, Financial Director, tel. +358 295 163 214 (budget)
Tanja Auvinen, Director, tel. +358 295 163 715 (gender equality)
Minna Saario, Director, tel. +358 295 163 146 (health and social services reform, service digitalisation)