Työkanava Ltd to start employing the most disadvantaged people with impaired capacity to work
Työkanava Ltd, a special assignment company wholly owned by the State, will start to employ people with impaired capacity to work who are in the most difficult labour market position. The Government submitted the bill concerning the Act on Työkanava for approval on 31 March. The President of the Republic is to approve the bill on Friday 1 April. The Act is intended to enter into force on 1 July 2022.
Työkanava employs people with impaired capacity to work and other unemployed people who are in the most difficult labour market position. The company’s objective is to improve and support their labour market and other skills so that as many of them as possible would be able to transition from Työkanava to the open labour market.
The company will begin its operations gradually and employ more people with impaired capacity to work as its business expands. After the operations have been established, the company aims to have approximately 1,000 persons with impaired capacity to work in an employment relationship.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is in charge of the ownership steering of the company.
Työkanava’s operations will begin in stages after its operative management has been selected and the business activities have started. The aim is to start operations with some customer companies and then expand the operations to more sectors and areas.
Työkanava’s operations will be financed with an initial capital of EUR 20 million from the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland (EU Recovery and Resilience Facility RRF). In addition, it will receive an annual appropriation of EUR 10 million in the form of government grants. The underlying idea is that at least one third of the company’s revenue would come from the sales of services.
The establishment of the company is based on the aim of the Government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin to promote the employment of people with impaired capacity to work and develop the intermediate job market in a new way. Where applicable, the company has been modelled after Sweden’s Samhall, which has operated for a long time.
“Työkanava is a completely new way of employing people with impaired capacity to work. In its part, it also helps meet the demand for skilled labour. People with impaired capacity to work have many kinds of professional skills and training. With the right support measures and adjustments, work capacity can be greatly improved. This is what Työkanava strives to achieve. Everyone has the right to work and feel included,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
Normal terms of employment apply to Työkanava’s employees
Until now, those in the most difficult position have lacked a path from employment services to work, because they need a significant amount of support while they work. Työkanava will offer a new operating model for this. Työkanava operates in the same way as other companies in the market and does not exercise public authority. The TE Office serves as the authority and directs unemployed people with impaired capacity to work to Työkanava in accordance with the company’s needs.
Employment with Työkanava is the option of last resort when all other opportunities for finding employment have been exhausted. At present, the TE Offices have registered more than 30,000 unemployed jobseekers who have been diagnosed as having reduced capacity to work. The most disadvantaged are people who have an illness or disability and who are aged over 55 and have a low level of education.
Työkanava employs the people directly in an employment relationship with the company and sells their work input to its customers. The customers include companies, organisations, public sector entities and private consumers in need of labour. This is a way for the customer to show social responsibility.
The employee’s remuneration and other terms of employment would be determined under employment legislation and the applicable collective agreement. Työkanava is responsible for the guidance of its employees at workplaces.
Company’s services priced on market terms
The economic activities of Työkanava are subject to the Competition Act, which lays down provisions on safeguarding equal operating conditions, i.e. ensuring competitive neutrality between public and private sector business activities.
The services produced by the company are priced on market terms. Työkanava’s pricing and market share are monitored by a separate advisory board, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as part of its ownership steering.
Työkanava complements the activities of third-sector service providers and social enterprises that integrate people into work. The company cooperates with them and may also use their services.
Työkanava is part of the Government’s employment measures. The Government aims to reach an employment rate of 75% by the mid-2020s. This will require increased employment also among people with impaired capacity to work. To achieve this goal and as part of the Government’s employment measures, a work ability programme is currently under way. It promotes the employment of people with impaired capacity to work, increases support for work capacity and improves people’s wellbeing at work. Launching the operations of Työkanava Ltd is one of the programme’s practical measures.
Iiris Niinikoski, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 372
Patrik Tötterman, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 049 034, [email protected] (steering of jobseekers to Työkanava by TE Offices, ownership steering)
Pirjo Larm, Project Manager, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 224, [email protected] (business and organisation of Työkanava Ltd)