HELSINKI – Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a social experiment hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.
Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off Jan. 1.
Those 2,000 unemployed chosen will receive 560 euros every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.
The unemployment rate of Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, stood at 8.1 percent in November with some 213,000 people without a job — unchanged from the previous year.