Finland trials “basic living wage” for everyone. Should Australia follow?

The idea of a “universal living wage” – a basic income for everybody – has been floated around for many

The idea of a “universal living wage” – a basic income for everybody – has been floated around for many years now.

The concept has been pitched as one that could help abolish poverty, give citizens greater job flexibility, and ultimately boost the economy for the better.

Next year, Finland will put their money where their mouth is and trial the idea. And the rest of the world will be watching very, very keenly.

According to, roughly 10,000 Finns will get a living wage of around AU$850 per month.

Even more strangely, there’s essentially no catch: no drawn-out application process, no testing, and no effect on other earnings. This is your default basic income, and you can earn whatever you like on top of this.

The trial is costing the Finnish government a comparatively small AU$31 million, and has a strong amount of public support. If successful, the trial could be rolled out across the country.

Olli Kangas, the Kela Research Director overseeing the experiment, said this is an attempt to set right some of the biggest shortcomings of Finland’s welfare system.

“Through this experiment, the Government wants to explore how to diminish, and possibly abolish, the work disincentives and income traps which it thinks weakens the present social transfer system in Finland,” he said.

It also aims to ease the pain of “bureaucratic tracks” such as long waiting times on welfare for those between jobs.

“I do not have any agenda either for or against basic income,” said Kangas.

“After the experiment, I hopefully can answer the question: either it is a good idea or it is a bad idea.”

  1. Chris  

    Our rent alone is $1,080 a month……….

  2. my rent is $300.00 per week. i get 2.95 per hour on the job ( govt doesnt legally classify what I do as work ) im a carer

  3. Henry  

    My total basic cost of living as a single person is $30,000 pa. Can they match that?

  4. betsy jury  

    This is just a government hand out for each person then you add your wages if working. If you are a stay at home parent while the other works you would get each this money plus husbands wage. UNemployed people would get this instead of unemployment benefit. Same for pensioners, sickness benefit etc etc.I would imagine the end of year taxes would change also.It would be interesting to see it work as it would alleviate the poor and those who need help.

  5. Tony Grabrovaz  

    This is indeed the future. Switzerland is looking at mid $30k which is closer to the real figure needed, but it is going to be an enormous battle. There will be howls of anguish from the haves, matched by similar howls from the dispossessed. Those obsessed with money as the means and only end to a good life will not relinquish their grip without a tremendous struggle.

  6. It would be nice to help prop up low income earners who struggle from pay to pay, however, we don’t want to help anyone to the extent that they don’t do something for themselves.

    Perhaps a cap on rent increases would help, but that’s a very socialist idea for a right wing fellow like me.

  7. Don day  

    More money in pensioners pockets will boost the economy,why? Because they will spend it.

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