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Finland first in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens basic monthly income

Staff Writer |
Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to €560 ($587).

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Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country’s social benefits, said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off January 1.

Those chosen will receive €560 every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.

The average private sector income in Finland is €3,500 per month, according to official data. Kangas said the scheme’s idea is to abolish the “disincentive problem” among the unemployed.

The trial aims to discourage people’s fears “of losing out something,” he said, adding that the selected people would continue to receive the €560 even after receiving a job.

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