Finland to test 'universal basic income' for the unemployed

A group of 2,000 unemployed people in Finland will receive a basic income every month from the state, tax-free and with no strings attached. Proponents hope to prove such schemes boost people's motivation to find work.

Starting in January, 2,000 unemployed people in Finland will begin receiving 560 euros ($585) every month from the state with no strings attached.

The new scheme, which will make Finland the first country in the world to test a universal basic income at the national level, will be managed by Finland's Social Insurance Institution, known as Kela.

"We think that this could be a big incentive for people to take on at least part-time work," said Marjukka Turunen, head of Kela's legal affairs unit.

Better off in work

Recipients will not pay tax on the basic income, even if they find work and earn a salary in addition to it.

Turunen said many unemployed people who receive social benefits in Finland don't want to take smaller jobs because they fear that, after tax, they will be worse off than before.

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