Evaluation report: Working capacity programme measures to help employment of persons with impaired capacity to work should continue
The measures launched during the working capacity programme to create a more inclusive labour market and to employ people with impaired working capacity should be continued and developed further. The employees’ ability to work is an essential factor in the pursuit of a higher employment rate. These are some conclusions of the evaluation report on the recently completed working capacity programme.
The operating models developed in the working capacity programme should be introduced as part of the implementation of various reforms. The results and impacts of the introduced measures should also be monitored to gain more detailed information on their success and effectiveness in the future.
According to the report, the programme strengthened the skills and resource allocation related to work ability in both TE services and the health and social services centres in the wellbeing services counties. Examples of this include the new work ability coordinators hired by the TE Offices and the work ability support teams established in the wellbeing services counties.
People with impaired capacity to work benefit the most from personal services that are timely and of sufficiently long duration. More efforts are needed in this regard. According to the report, both TE services and health and social services are able to identify the needs of people with impaired capacity to work better than before. However, the structures of multisectoral cooperation and the competence of professionals must be improved. In the future, the latter will be facilitated by new training modules that were developed by several higher education institutions as part of the working capacity programme.
Close cooperation with employers needed
Significantly closer cooperation is needed between companies, employers and organisations representing employers and entrepreneurs to employ persons with impaired work capacity. For example, employers will need support for recruiting such persons and for tailoring and organising work tasks. There was too little cooperation in this respect in the working capacity programme.
According to the evaluation, the effect of the working capacity programme measures on the creation of jobs suitable for people with impaired working capacity was largely indirect. However, the different measures had an impact on the structures and created new, necessary preconditions for a more inclusive labour market. People with impaired working capacity are offered job opportunities in social enterprises, at Työkanava (which employs them directly), and through the increased use of the requirement to employ in public procurement.
The structural reforms that have been or will be implemented were visible in the implementation of the working capacity programme. These include the launch of the wellbeing services counties at the start of this year and the transfer of TE services from central government to municipalities in 2025. According to the evaluation, continuing the work started by the working capacity programme in a changing environment will require intersectoral cooperation, the management’s commitment and resources.
The situation picture concerning people with impaired capacity to work is fragmented, the report states. It therefore recommends that a common intersectoral situation picture be created to strengthen the employment rate and improve the situation of people with impaired working capacity in Finland. The situation picture will require continuous maintenance, compilation and coordination of different activities, and allocation of resources and division of responsibilities for monitoring and knowledge production.
The evaluation was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and carried out by Owal Group together with the Rehabilitation Foundation and Mikko Kesä Oy.
Working capacity programme looked for solutions to known problems in the employment of persons with impaired capacity to work
The working capacity programme was a measure of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government to raise the employment rate to 75%. The programme aimed to find solutions to the existing problems in the employment of people with impaired capacity to work. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment was responsible for implementing the working capacity programme in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 2019–2023.
The six measures of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment focused on removing barriers to the employment of persons with impaired working capacity and on boosting employment. The measures included adding work ability coordinators in TE Offices, carrying out eight TE service pilots across Finland, establishing Työkanava Ltd, employing people through public procurement, founding a centre of excellence for social enterprises, and improving the way the social impact of employment is measured.
The measures of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health developed the working capacity services in the wellbeing counties to support work ability and functional capacity and to promote employment. Another measure of the Ministry was strengthening the competence of professionals in supporting work ability by developing training modules. A total of 22 development projects funded with discretionary government grants were carried out in the regions. The projects were separately monitored and evaluated by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (TTL).
Olli Oosi, Senior Partner, Owal Group, tel. +358 50 530 4737, [email protected]
Jeremias Kortelainen, Chief Executive Officer, Owal Group, tel. +358 40 758 5893, [email protected]
Kimmo Ruth, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8073, [email protected] (Measures of the working capacity programme in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment)
Niina Kovanen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3726 [email protected] (Measures of the working capacity programme in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)