Jobseekers to receive more individual support in proposed Nordic labour market service model now out for comments
In the Nordic labour market service model, jobseekers would apply for work on their own initiative and receive individual and intensive support for their job search at an earlier stage. Jobseekers would be required to apply for a certain number of jobs in order to continue their right to receive unemployment security. A jobseeker would receive a reminder in the first case of forgetfulness or neglect.
The Nordic labour market service model is one of the Government’s major employment reforms. The aim is to change the course of labour market policy from passive to active in Finland, as in other Nordic countries, and to target services more efficiently than at present. Individual employment services can only be offered if there are sufficient resources available for their implementation. Finland has lagged behind other Nordic countries in this respect.
Support for independent job search at all stages
In the Nordic labour market service model, jobseekers would apply for work on their own initiative and receive significantly more individual support for their job search than before. Support would be available more quickly at all stages of job search.
The jobseeker would meet a specialist from the TE Office or the municipality (if the municipality participates in a local government pilot on promotion of employment) every two weeks for the first three months of job search. After that, the jobseeker would meet a specialist every three months. In case of prolonged unemployment, an intensive but shorter period of meetings would take place every six months.
During the meetings, the jobseekers’ need for services, their skills and opportunities to look for work would be individually assessed. Based on this, the jobseeker and the specialist would agree on services supporting the job search and the number of jobs the jobseeker should apply for each month. As a rule, the jobseeker should apply for four jobs each month. However, exceptions to this rule would be possible due to reduced capacity for work, for example. The labour market situation in the region would also be taken into account. The specialist would support the jobseeker in finding suitable job opportunities in different ways.
As a rule, jobseekers would select the job opportunities they apply for. For example, submitting a job application for a vacancy or submitting an open job application to a company that is not actively hiring would be considered applying for a job. Jobseekers should apply for jobs they could reasonably assume to get.
TE Offices and municipalities participating in local government pilots on employment could continue to submit job offers to jobseekers. These job offers would be binding. This means that jobseekers, whose job search has lasted six months, would have to apply for the job in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits. The job offer would not be binding if the jobseeker had already applied for the agreed number of jobs before receiving the job offer and reported this to the TE Office or municipality.
As a rule, jobseekers would report on their job search through an online service.
Sanctions for failing to apply for work to become more reasonable
Looking for work has always been a precondition for receiving unemployment benefit. Even now, failure to apply for the jobs offered by the TE Office or municipality results in a temporary loss of unemployment benefit, i.e. so-called sanction.
In the Nordic labour market service model, the sanctions for failing to apply for work would become more reasonable. A jobseeker would receive a reminder in the first case of forgetfulness or neglect. In addition, the periods of sanction when the unemployment benefits are not paid would be staggered and shortened.
Individual and effective services to shorten periods of unemployment
The Nordic labour market service model is estimated to increase employment by about 9,500–10,000 people. The impact on employment would be fully achieved from the beginning of 2025.
In particular, the discussions organised every two weeks at the start of the job search are expected to support employment. Based on research, regular interaction with jobseekers, active employment services and job search monitoring will shorten the periods of unemployment.
In order to enable individual services, the Government will increase the resources of TE Offices and municipalities by EUR 70 million. With this money, they will recruit about 1,200 new specialists.
Changes to become effective in 2022
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment circulated the proposed amendments for comments on 7 June 2021. Comments on the draft will be accepted until 1 August 2021. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session 2021.
The changes to the service process of jobseekers are intended to enter into force in May 2022.
Timo Meling, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 084 (unemployment security)
Santtu Sundvall, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 116 (TE Services)