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Kela, Tarsalainen: finlands maternity package


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Presentation at the event ”Socially Innovative Finland - Spotlight on the basic income experiment and the Finnish maternity package”, Kela, Helsinki, 12.1.2017.

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Kela, Tarsalainen: finlands maternity package

  1. 1. Finland’s maternity package Olga Tarsalainen Communications Specialist 12.1.2017
  2. 2. History of the maternity grant: 1938 • The Finnish maternity package was designed in 1937 to give all children a more equal start to life. • The Maternity Grants act came into force on 1 January 1938. • The introduction of maternity grants was prompted by concerns over declining birth rates and high infant mortality. • In 1938, about two thirds of the country’s new mothers received maternity grants (amounted to more than a third of the average monthly salary of an industrial worker!). • Early on, the maternity grant was awarded and paid out by municipal welfare boards. 2
  3. 3. History of the maternity grant: 1938 • The box containing the maternity package could itself be used as a safe bed for the baby. • In those days the poorest homes didn’t necessarily have a clean place for a baby to sleep. 3 Finnish Labour Museum Werstas
  4. 4. History of the maternity grant • At first, maternity packages were intended for low-income mothers only. Since clothes were still largely homemade, early maternity packages contained fabric suitable for baby clothes. • They also contained the muslin squares that still feature in packages today. 4 Finnish Labour Museum Werstas
  5. 5. History of the maternity grant: 1949 • In 1949, the maternity grant was made available to all mothers. • Under a new provision mothers wishing to receive grants now had to visit a physician, mid- wife or municipal pre-natal clinic before the end of the fourth month of pregnancy. • This effectively encouraged pregnant mothers to have health checks, helping to put Finland among the countries with the world’s lowest maternity and infant mortality rates! 5 Finnish Labour Museum Werstas
  6. 6. History of the maternity grant: 1950s • The quantity and quality of the clothes provided in the package increased gradually. • Initially clothes were made of white or unbleached cotton. Mothers would often embroider them for a more personalized appearance. • From 1957 fabrics and sewing materials were replaced by ready- made garments. 6 Finnish Labour Museum Werstas
  7. 7. History of the maternity package: 1980s-1990s • The need for maternity packages was questioned in the 1980s as families became better off. Since the packages remained as popular as ever among new parents, it was decided to continue offering them. • A legislative amendment made in 1990 brought the right to the maternity grant to adoptive parents. • The maternity grants scheme has been administered by Kela since 1994. 7
  8. 8. The 1994 version of the maternity package 8
  9. 9. The 2000 version of the maternity package 9
  10. 10. The 2003 version of the maternity package 10
  11. 11. The maternity package is a social security benefit • The maternity package is not commercially available. The items are sourced through a competitive bidding process complying with EU law. • The maternity grant can be awarded to persons who are permanently resident in Finland and are covered by the Finnish social security system. • Mothers can choose between a maternity package and a tax-free cash benefit of €140. • While the range of items remains largely the same, the colours and patterns change, and some completely new items are added every year. • There are currently 56 different items in the box. 11
  12. 12. Nearly all first-time mothers choose the maternity package • Ecological aspects have gradually become more important. The baby bottle and soother were left out in order to promote breastfeeding. • The selection criteria for items in the package include the needs of babies and parents, gender neutrality in colour schemes, quality, and affordability. • Nearly all first-time mothers now choose the maternity package! Only a third of all expecting mothers opt for the cash benefit. • Each year, Kela awards around 60,000 maternity grants, of which about 40,000 are provided in the form of a maternity package. 12
  13. 13. The 2016 version of the maternity package 13
  14. 14. Thank you! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Olga Tarsalainen Communications Specialist, International Affairs Twitter: @OlgaTars 14