Individual services to support job search in the Nordic labour market service model
The reform would give unemployed jobseekers quicker and more intensive support for their job search. The Government submitted a proposal on the Nordic labour market service model to Parliament on 7 October 2021. The changes are intended to take effect in May 2022.
“The Nordic labour market service model is one of the Government’s measures to reform jobseeker services. Research shows that individual and effective services shorten periods of unemployment. Until now, Finland has lagged behind the other Nordic countries in terms of the quantity and quality of employment services. We will correct this now,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
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.
Quick and intensive support for job search
In the Nordic labour market service model, the first meeting between a jobseeker and a specialist would take place within five working days of the start of job search. After this, jobseekers would receive more intensive support for their job search than currently. In the early stages of job search, the jobseeker would meet a specialist from the TE Office or the participating municipality every two weeks.
During the meetings, the jobseekers’ need for services, their skills and ability to look for work would be individually assessed. If the skills to look for work or to be employed were found to be lacking, the jobseeker would get access to services quicker.
If there was no need to improve these skills, the jobseeker would have to apply for four jobs per month. However, exceptions could be made, for example, if the jobseeker’s working capacity had deteriorated or there were only few vacancies available in the area.
Modern job search instead of purposeless applications
Jobseekers would still have to apply for work in order to receive unemployment benefits, but they could influence their job search more. In principle, jobseekers would select the job opportunities they apply for, but a specialist would support jobseekers in finding suitable jobs. As a rule, jobseekers would report on their job search through an online service.
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.
Reasonable sanctions for failing to apply for jobs
Looking for work has always been a precondition for receiving unemployment benefit. Currently, failure by a jobseeker to apply for a job offered to them results in a temporary loss of unemployment benefit, i.e. a sanction. These consequences have been considered unreasonable.
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.
Iiris Niinikoski, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 372
Timo Meling, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 084 (unemployment security)
Ahti Avikainen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 980 (TE Services)