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Lainsäädäntö - 29.04.2022 klo 13.30

New obligations for job seekers and more support for job searching

Picture: Shutterstock

A reform will come into effect in May that will increase the obligations on the unemployed to find a job. At the same time the waiting time will be relaxed and there is the promise of better services for the unemployed.

The objective of the government’s reform, or the so-called Nordic employment service model, is to get the unemployed back into work more quickly. To reach that objective, there will be more personal service for the unemployed, but that comes with the obligation to apply for at least four jobs a month.

In the initial job searching phase, there are meetings every two weeks. The government’s reasoning for these frequent meetings is that studies show that regular interaction with job seekers, active job placement and job search monitoring reduce unemployment spells.

Waiting periods for oversights eased

The first time an unemployed person forgets or misses an appointment, they get a reminder.

A second oversight within one year leads to loss of unemployment benefits for five days.

A third oversight within one year leads to loss of unemployment benefits for ten days.

After a fourth oversight, you can only get unemployment benefits after 12 weeks of employment, self-employment, employment-promoting services or studies.

Waiting period relaxed

In the new model, the unemployment security waiting period, or the loss of unemployment security for a certain period, will be relaxed. For example, in future missing the first scheduled meeting or an inadvertent job searching mistake will only result in a reminder.

PAM’s research director Antti Veirto is satisfied with the change.

“The waiting periods are more sensible, and people will get the chance to correct their actions. It’s good that a first mistake won’t cost you money and cause unreasonable financial hardship. But the maximum waiting period – the 12-week work requirement – is still a tough penalty for repeated oversights.”

Unnecessary bureaucracy for part-timers?

Under the new law, part-time workers or persons on part-time lay-off must attend interviews and apply for jobs every three months to get adjusted unemployment allowance. Part-timers can meet their job search obligation by asking their employer for extra working hours.

PAM has criticised the job search obligation for part-timers as unnecessary bureaucracy and was able to influence drafting of the law and improve it.

“Originally the ministry appeared to assume that part-timers would have the same obligations as the unemployed. That would have been totally unreasonable.”

How the Nordic employment service model works

Initial interview five days after job searching starts. The meeting identifies the unemployed person’s service requirements, and an employment plan is drawn up.

Meetings every two weeks for the first three months. At least initially, these job search discussions are face-to-face in-person meetings.

Job seekers must as a rule apply for four jobs a month. This number may be lower, depending on the job seeker’s situation. The law stipulates exceptions, such as work incapacity or if there are no jobs available. As a rule, job seekers report their job searches online.

Part-time workers and laid-off persons must apply for one job in three months. The job search obligation also applies to part-timers and those with variable working hours (zero-hours contracts) who get adjusted unemployment allowance as well as anyone laid off if it is three months since the lay-off started. Part-timers must attend meetings every three months.

After six months, officials can make the unemployed binding job offers. Binding job offers are counted towards an unemployed person’s obligation to apply for four jobs a month.

Text:: Hildur Boldt

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