Labour market policy insufficient for people with disabilities

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Increasingly more people with decreased working capacity are being registered with the employment agency. Between 2009 and 2010, this group grew by 32 percent and now consists of 162,000 persons. This increase is considered to be due to a poor economic situation as well as the transfer of those removed from the sickness insurance system to the employment agency.
Today people with disabilities lack appropriate labour market measures of sufficient scope. Current labour market measures are – to an excessive extent – concentrated to coaching and matching, states Ulla Lindqvist, LO Vice President, who is also of the opinion that sickness insurance rules must be amended so that fewer people are removed from the system.

Despite the fact that new start jobs are not primarily designed for persons with disabilities, these jobs are very common among this group. This takes place at the expense of jobs with wage subsidies that are a better solution for persons with disabilities. Unlike jobs with wage subsidies, new start jobs require almost no workplace supervision. Employment with wage subsidies is however preceded by a workplace oversight and includes a package of complementary measures that can be applied in order to facilitate the work for those with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the subsidy level for such jobs has gradually decreased. In 2009 it covered merely 60 percent of the wage. Owing to this, jobs with wage subsidies are less profitable for companies than new start jobs. Therefore the government should raise the subsidy level to make these jobs more appealing to companies, claims Ulla Lindqvist.

Furthermore, Ulla Lindqvist emphasises the provision of the Work Environment Act that obliges employers to adjust work environment to employees’ health situation.

In addition, it is stated in the report that more women than men with disabilities are unemployed. At the same time, more men than women receive labour market support. LO is therefore of the opinion that the government ought to instruct the employment agency to investigate what caused this situation and how it can be rectified.