Kela is asking for suggestions to rename the maternity package – proposals to leave the name unchanged are welcome too
Should the maternity package be renamed to better reflect the diversity of families? Is the name of the maternity package unfair to fathers? Kela invites everyone to discuss the name of the maternity package, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
Visitors to a new dedicated website can suggest a new name or propose keeping the existing name.
According to Director General Elli Aaltonen satisfied customers are Kela’s topmost priority. Feedback from customers is important to Kela, and there have been extensive discussions about the name of the maternity package.
Aaltonen says that Kela is committed to treating everyone equally. While the existing name has a long and rich tradition and enjoys strong support, there has been much talk of modernising the maternity package, including changing its name, Aaltonen says.
Because the name is laid down in the Maternity Grants Act, any decision to change it would have to be made by Parliament, but change certainly appears possible. In an interview she recently gave to Kela, Annika Saarikko, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, said that she would welcome a new name for the maternity package, adding that renaming it would make many fathers happy as well.
The maternity package is an innovation in well-being that continues to attract widespread interest around the world. It has also played a major role historically in promoting well-being in Finland in that it was originally used as a way to persuade mothers to visit a maternity and child health clinic.
Aaltonen says that Kela hopes to see strong and lively debate around the name, because the maternity package is an important building block of the Finnish social security system.
In social media, discussions about the new name are hashtagged with #äitiyspakkaus and #moderskapsförpackningen. The deadline for suggestions is 31st December, after which Kela will deliver the suggestions along with explanations to Minister Saarikko.
Earlier this month, Kela launched a new dedicated website to celebrate Finland’s centenary and the 80-year history of the maternity package. New themes for the forthcoming editions of the maternity package box were made public at the same time.
Aya Iwaya, Robert Lönnqvist and Ilona Partanen were selected as co-winners in an invitational competition of young visual designers. The recognition brings them increased international attention.
Robert Lönnqvist, whose design made the 2018 edition of the maternity package box, says that he felt a bit as if he had won the Nobel Peace Prize.