15 ways Helsinki gives people the freedom to be fragile

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Finland’s welfare state is designed to support you by taking care of the basics. In Helsinki, you’ll always be able to rely on our excellent support systems to help you live a comfortable life.

1. Finland is known for having one of the most advanced welfare systems in the world.

Finland’s social welfare system is based on the Nordic welfare state model, and is designed to guarantee dignity and decent living conditions for everyone in Finland. Finnish welfare is characterised by its comprehensive social security, a wide range of public services, and a relatively high level of taxation.

2. The system encompasses universal healthcare.

Finland’s healthcare system is decentralised, meaning that citizens can choose between using public and private healthcare services. In Finland, employers are required to provide occupational healthcare services. Dentalcare is also heavily subsidised by the state.

3. Residents of Finland are also entitled to parental and family benefits.

As well as offering its citizens generous parental leave, Finland allows its new parents to claim maternity and paternity allowances. Single parents are eligible for extra parental leave as well as a higher level of financial support, and financial assistance is also available for those wanting to adopt a child from abroad. The Finnish state continues to supports new parents after the birth of their child by offering them day care benefits and childcare benefits until the child turns 17.

4. And you must have heard of Finland’s baby box!

New parents in Finland can choose between receiving a maternity package, or a baby box, or a tax-free cash benefit. Parents in Finland have been receiving baby boxes since the 1930s, as part of a system designed to give all children in Finland an equal start in life. The package contains essential items including: bodysuits; a sleeping bag; outdoor clothing; bath products; nappies; bedding; and a mattress. It’s the envy of the world!

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5. Finland also offers its citizens pension benefits.

The Finnish state provides people with small or non-existent earnings-related pensions with state pensions, including old age pensions and disability pensions. In Finland, pensioners are also eligible for housing benefits and a separate care allowance.

6. As well as sickness and unemployment benefits.

People who have to take an extended leave of absence due to sickness are eligible for sickness allowances. The Finnish state also supports individuals who return to work on a part-time basis after being on sick leave, by paying them a partial sickness allowance.

Job seekers are also eligible for unemployment benefits in Finland.

7. Students benefits are substantial here.

Finnish citizens who are enrolled in fulltime study are eligible for financial aid, including study grants, a government guarantee on student loans, and housing supplements. Students renting their own accommodation are also eligible for general housing allowances, and all students are eligible for subsidised transport and meals.

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8. And Finland offers its citizens generous workers compensation.

In Finland, minimum wages, working hours, holidays, sick pay, and terms of dismissal are determined by labour legislation and collective agreements. Everyone working in Finland has the right to remuneration in accordance with these agreements, as well as the right to a healthy and safe working environment. Joining a trade union is common in Finland and indeed many workers opt to join trade unions. 

9. In Finland, our childcare services are affordable.

In Finland, sending your children to day care is free. At day care children take part in games, sports, music, and crafts with the aim of allowing them to further their development and learn important social skills.

10. Especially in Helsinki.

Like all Finns, Helsinki citizens can send their children to day care—and extensive bilingual early childhood education is available in the capital city. In Helsinki, at least 25% of day care centres operate in a language other than Finnish or Swedish.

11.The Finnish welfare system covers services for people with disabilities.

Finland’s social services provide those living with disabilities and chronic illnesses with disability benefits to help them cope with the challenges of everyday life.

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12. And the system also provides basic social assistance for individuals and families who need it.

People whose income does not cover their essential expenses are eligible for basic social assistance. This takes the form of a fixed sum of money, which covers the costs of daily living for those who are unable to cover it for themselves. Cases are assessed on an individual basis, and in instances in which the basic social assistance is not enough, the municipal social services may offer extra support at their discretion. Those who need it are also eligible for housing allowances.

13. As well as people who are struggling with substance abuse.

Finland’s social services support rehabilitation schemes, with the goal of improving the functional and working capacity of its citizens and improving their quality of life. In practise, this means granting those currently enrolled in rehabilitation with a rehabilitation allowance.

14. There’s also support available to people experiencing homelessness in Finland.

Finland is the only country in Europe in which homelessness is on the decline. For over a decade, Finland has launched and funded national programmes based on the Housing First model, which operates on the principle that having a place to live is a basic human right. One such programme is run by the Y-Foundation, which offers rental homes to people experiencing homelessness. These homes are sublet by to those in need by cities and municipalities.

15. Winding up in hospital doesn’t mean having to pay a huge bill in Finland.

Everyone has the right to good-quality healthcare in Finland and residents are entitled to all sorts of free health care services, including x-rays, blood tests, and birth control. According to the Department of Health and Welfare, healthcare fees in Helsinki are among the lowest in the country, with day surgery costing just €130. What’s more, some major surgeries and even childbirth can cost as little as €50 here. But best of all, healthcare service costs are capped, meaning that Helsinki residents never pay more than €638 in a single year.

16. Helsinki is a city that’s committed to helping you.

Finland’s welfare state is designed to support you by taking care of the basics. In Helsinki, you’ll always be able to rely on our excellent support systems to help you live a comfortable life. 

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Finland’s welfare state is designed to support you by taking care of the basics. In Helsinki, you’ll always be able to rely on our excellent support systems to help you live a comfortable life.