Government proposes to change legislation promoting employment and integration
The Government has proposed amendments to three Acts to prepare for the transfer of responsibility for organising health and social services from municipalities to wellbeing services counties at the start of next year. The amendments concern the Act on Multisectoral Joint Services Promoting Employment (the so-called TYP Act), the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (Integration Act) and the Act on Municipal Experiments to Promote Employment (Municipal experiments Act). The Government will submit its proposal to Parliament on 25 May 2022.
The wellbeing services county will organise health and social services in 33 multisectoral joint service networks (the so-called TYP networks). The current TYP Act lays down provisions on joint service model for the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office), municipality and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Those involved in the joint services model should coordinate the public employment services that they are responsible for organising as well as health, social welfare and rehabilitation services in accordance with the unemployed person’s service needs.
In the joint service model, healthcare and social services are the responsibility of municipalities. According to the proposal, the TYP Act would be amended so that wellbeing services counties would become the authority responsible for health and social services in the joint service model.
Municipalities can still participate in TYP networks
Even though the municipality will no longer be responsible for organising health and social services for the TYP customers, it would still be part of the TYP network. Based on the comments, some of the sections and reasons for the Act have been reformulated.
Even after the transfer of health and social services, municipalities can offer services that support employment in cooperation with the TYP operators as part of multisectoral joint services. Municipalities would also continue to appoint the managers of multisectoral joint services.
Compensation for integration costs to municipalities and wellbeing services counties
Amendments clarifying the role of the wellbeing services counties are also proposed to the Integration Act.
Under the Integration Act, the State will compensate municipalities for the costs incurred in promoting integration. These include the costs for providing social and healthcare services organised by the municipality, for example. According to the proposal, the Integration Act would be amended to allow the wellbeing services counties to apply for compensation for the costs of organising health and social services from 2023 onwards.
However, municipalities could apply for compensation for the health and social services costs they have incurred by the end of 2022 retroactively in 2023 and 2024. In addition, municipalities could continue to receive compensation for the statutory costs of promoting integration.
Based on the comments received, the proposal for the Integration Act was amended so that the imputed reimbursements paid on beneficiaries of international protection and their family members would in future be paid to the wellbeing services county, in addition to the municipality.
Wellbeing services county could participate in initial assessments and integration plans
Based on the feedback received, provisions were also added, according to which the wellbeing services counties could take part in preparing an initial assessment and an integration plan with the TE Office or the municipality when the immigrant’s need for services necessitates coordination of the services provided by these different authorities.
Wellbeing services counties would organise housing in family group homes
Under the Integration Act, the care of children and young persons, who have arrived in Finland unaccompanied, is organised in a family group home, through supported family placement or in some other appropriate manner.
According to the proposal, the responsibility for supporting unaccompanied minors and arranging accommodation for them, e.g. in family group homes, be transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties. Currently, there are family group homes in about ten municipalities, so the new task is not expected to significantly increase the responsibilities of the wellbeing services counties.
Wellbeing services counties would receive full compensation from the State for the costs arising from these duties. The Act would also contain provisions on the right of access to information and on the transfer of agreements and personnel.
Changes would enter into force in 2023
The amendments to the Acts are intended to enter into force at the beginning of 2023.
The Government is also simultaneously preparing comprehensive reforms of both Acts and the proposals for them are currently in public consultation. These proposals are due to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2022, and they are set to enter into force in 2024.
The preparatory documents for Government proposals are available on the website valtioneuvosto.fi/hankkeet under TEM075:00/2021 and TEM100:00/2019.
Mira Karppanen, Chief Specialist (Integration Act), tel. +358 29 504 7293
Anna Aaltonen, Specialist (TYP Act), tel. +358 29 504 7097