Questions and answers about the model for independent job seeking
The Government is preparing amendments to the sanctions of the unemployment security system in anticipation of the forthcoming regional government and growth services reform. The amendments would mean that independent job seeking would be a condition for unemployment benefit. Moreover, there would be fewer other obligations associated with unemployment benefit.
The Government began a consultation round on the government proposal on independent job seeking in June 2018. The answers below are based on the draft government proposal. It is possible that the final model will depart from the model outlined in the draft due to changes proposed in the comments received.
What would change for jobseekers?
Currently, the condition for unemployment security is that unemployed jobseekers apply for the jobs the TE Office has offered them, sometimes at short notice. In the new model, jobseekers would have more room to make their own choices. They could decide themselves which suitable jobs to apply for and when; however, within the one-month review period.
What are the objectives?
The new model would improve the matching of employers and employees on the labour market. The objective is that it would be easier for jobseekers to find work and for employers to recruit skilled workforce.
What does independent job seeking mean?
In the new model, an employment plan would be drawn up for each person registering as unemployed jobseeker already at the start of their job seeking. For jobseekers who are able to seek and find employment on their own, the employment plan would define ‘independent job seeking’ as the condition for unemployment benefit.
The options for meeting the job-seeking requirement would include at least submitting an open job applications to a potential employer, contacting prospective employers directly, or signing up for the employee registers of companies providing employment services or temporary agency work. Participating in different kinds of recruitment events would also be considered as independent job seeking.
Even work carried out as an entrepreneur would be considered as independent job seeking. In practice this could mean advertising one’s business, contacting potential clients, participating in calls for tenders, and signing up for registers of invoicing service agencies.
Submitting an application for work performed in a contractual or a public-service employment relationship and attending a job interview and other steps of the recruitment process for such a job would also meet the job-seeking requirement. Failing to participate in the different steps of the recruitment process would mean that the job-seeking requirement is not fulfilled.
For how many prospective jobs must jobseekers apply?
The required number of applications for prospective jobs would be defined in each jobseeker’s employment plan. Jobseekers who are able to seek jobs independently and who have good chances of finding employment would need to apply for four prospective jobs in a month.
For jobseekers who need help in seeking and finding employment, the number of applications for prospective jobs and the services offered for them would be determined according to the jobseeker’s individual situation. The required number of applications would be lower, or there would be no requirement to apply for prospective jobs.
The required number of applications would be determined based on the labour market situation in the region and the so-called occupational immunity period
Are there situations where independent job seeking does not apply?
Jobseekers who are not able to seek jobs independently could attend services that help them seek and find employment in accordance with their employment plan. Independent job seeking would not be required of jobseekers who are unable to work. Other exceptions would be at least two weeks of full-time work and self-employment on a full-time basis, during which period independent job seeking would not be required.
Can jobseekers apply for any work?
In the new model, jobseekers would have more room to make their own choices. They could decide themselves which suitable jobs to apply for. However, they should only apply for jobs they are qualified for and which they could reasonably expect to get.
The required number of prospective jobs, defined in each jobseeker’s employment plan, would take into account the jobseeker’s possible occupational immunity
What if there are no vacancies?
The required number of applications would be determined based on the labour market situation in the region.
How would the independent job seeking be monitored? What if the jobseeker does not have online access?
Jobseekers would be obligated to register once a month their progress with regard to their independent job seeking either in an online service or in some other way based on agreement. Clients who have no possibility to use online services could register their applications in other ways, such as by phone.
Does the new model mean that jobseekers have no longer access to personalised services and support?
The model would allow more room to make their own choices for jobseekers who are able to seek jobs independently and have good chances of finding employment. Jobseekers would decide themselves which suitable jobs to apply for. The county and service providers would only monitor the progress of their independent job seeking. This would free up resources for helping those who need help in job seeking.
The Government’s proposal would not affect the practice of interviews with unemployed jobseekers. These interviews are conducted every three months to assess the unemployed jobseeker’s need for services, among other things.
Would the reporting of independent job seeking increase the jobseekers’ obligations and the public authorities’ workload?
Even now, jobseekers are required to register their progress with regard to their employment plan and the job applications they have submitted for jobs offered by the TE Office. In other words, the reporting duties under the new model would be very similar to the current duties.
From the perspective of the counties and service providers, the new model would mean that jobseekers’ reports are checked from the employment-service perspective as part of ordinary client services. The intention is not to obligate counties and service providers to read all job applications submitted by unemployed jobseekers.
Would the new model lead to heaps of purposeless job applications?
The new model is not expected to lead to heaps of job applications because jobseekers have always been applying for jobs independently. There are many unfilled vacancies, and employers do not always get enough applications to fill all their vacancies.
Independent job seeking would mean that jobseekers should only apply to jobs they are qualified for or have other reasonable grounds to expect they could get the job. Therefore, the applications would not be purposeless from the employers’ perspective. It would be possible to address situations where a jobseeker repeatedly applies for jobs without reasonable grounds when the employment plan is drawn up for the jobseeker.
Would the sanctions get harder?
The sanctions (i.e. qualifying periods for benefits) in the unemployment security system would become more lenient, not harder.
A jobseeker, who fails to seek employment in the manner specified in his or her employment plan, would be reminded of the conditions for receiving unemployment benefit. Should the same jobseeker continue to neglect his or her job seeking obligation, a qualifying period for benefit or an employment obligation would be imposed on him or her.
What is the difference between independent job seeking and the activation model?
Independent job seeking as a condition for unemployment benefit and the activation model are both designed to promote employment and increase the employment rate. The revision of the sanctions in the unemployment security system would not affect the activation model.
Independent job seeking plays a key role in the revision of the sanctions in the unemployment security system. In the activation model, paid work, self-employment and use of employment services determine the amount of the unemployment benefit. Independent job seeking would improve the chances of finding employment and, therefore, will help meet the conditions in the activation model.
Työttömyysetuuden saamiseksi edellytettävä omatoiminen työnhaku ja työttömyysturvan aktiivimalli pyrkivät molemmat edistämään työllistymistä ja lisäämään työllisyyttä. Työttömyysturvaseuraamusten uudistaminen ei vaikuttaisi aktiivimalliin.
Työttömyysturvaseuraamusten uudistamisessa on keskeistä omatoiminen työnhaku. Aktiivimallissa palkkatyö, yritystoiminta tai palveluihin osallistuminen vaikuttaa työttömyysturvan määrään. Omatoiminen työnhaku parantaa työllistymisen mahdollisuuksia ja tukee näin aktiivimallin ehtojen täyttämistä.
What will happen with the sanctions system? Will there be double sanctions, i.e., a qualifying period and a lower benefit amount.
There would be no double sanctions for a failure to apply for a job, for example (the two possible sanctions being a qualifying period for neglecting the obligation of independent job seeking and a lower amount of benefit under the activation model). Double sanctions are already prohibited under the current legislation.
Should an unemployed jobseeker fail to apply for jobs in the manner specific in his or her employment plan, he or she would be subject to a qualifying period. In other words, he or she would lose her unemployment benefit for a fixed term. After the qualifying period, the review period in the activation model would start again. If the amount of the benefit had been lowered prior to the qualifying period, the jobseeker’s unemployment benefit would be reset to the original amount. It would be a clean slate after the qualifying period.
What happens next?
The Government began a consultation round on the government proposal on independent job seeking in June 2018. Next, the comments received during the consultation are processed and potential needs to amend the proposal are evaluated. The aim is to submit the government proposal to Parliament during the autumn session 2018. The Government will decide later when the amendments would enter into force.
Have stakeholders been heard during the preparation process?
The Government has already worked on the model based on feedback from the previous consultation round and general debate. The central labour market organisations were involved in the preparation process in later spring 2018. The proposal is not unanimous