Trainee jobs, reforms in introduction of new arrivals and higher ceiling for unemployment benefits become a reality
On 16 June, the Riksdag passed the Government’s Spring Amending Budget, which means that previously announced labour market policy proposals in the budget – including trainee jobs and education contracts for young people, reforms to facilitate the introduction of newly arrived immigrants, and a rise in the ceiling for unemployment benefits – will now be put into practice. Today the Government took the next step in implementing these reforms, in part by deciding on several ordinances.
Among other things, the Government decided on amendments to the appropriation directions for the 2015 fiscal year for the Swedish Public Employment Service and the Swedish Work Environment Authority. The appropriations to these authorities are being increased to make it possible to implement the reforms that the Government proposed in the Spring Amending Budget for 2015 and to improve the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s supervisory activities.
Also today, the Government decided to issue acts and several amendments to ordinances in the labour market policy area that follow from the proposals presented by the Government in the Spring Amending Budget for 2015. A selection of these are presented below.
Trainee jobs and education contracts for young people
Trainee jobs are being introduced in the welfare sector and in shortage occupation areas as a form of subsidised employment for unemployed young people. This employment will be combined with occupational training in the area of employment. The trainee jobs will be introduced on 3 August 2015.
Education contracts are being introduced for unemployed young people aged 20–24 who lack upper secondary school qualifications or equivalent knowledge. Education contracts will be introduced on 3 August 2015.
Introduction of new arrivals
The Government is making additional funds available in 2015 and changing the compensation to municipalities for participants in Swedish for immigrants (SFI) courses living in Swedish Migration Agency accommodation centres pending placement in a municipality. It is important that newly arrived immigrants have an opportunity to participate in SFI while waiting to start their introduction measures. The provisions on changes in compensation to municipalities enter into force on 1 August 2015 but will apply to everyone participating from 1 January 2015 onwards.
The Government has decided to augment the ‘Section 37a’ funds by another SEK 30 million. This funding is intended for activities in the civil society and local government sectors aimed at creating better conditions for new arrivals to establish themselves in society.
The Government has also instructed the Swedish Public Employment Service to carry out a pilot project in 2015 to develop methods to identify the occupational skills of new arrivals early on, while they are waiting in accommodation centres for assignment to municipalities. The Swedish Public Employment Service is to develop tools for quickly identifying new arrivals’ educational and/or occupational experience, for example in occupations in which skills supply needs have been identified. This task also includes producing a systematic information package on paths to work and studies for newly arrived immigrants.
Higher ceiling for unemployment benefits
The highest daily allowance in the unemployment insurance system will be raised from SEK 680 to SEK 910 during the first 100 days of benefits, which means that a person who has a monthly income of up to SEK 25 000 will receive 80 per cent of their previous income. After 100 days of benefits, the highest daily allowance will be SEK 760. The minimum level of compensation from unemployment insurance will also be increased, from SEK 320 to SEK 365 per day. These increases will take effect on 7 September 2015.
Extra jobs and adult education in phase 3
Extra jobs will be introduced in some parts of the welfare sector as a form of subsidised employment. The target group consists of participants in phase 3 (the employment phase of the job and development guarantee). Special employment support in the form of extra jobs will come into effect on 2 November 2015.
A possibility will be introduced for participants in phase 3 to take short study courses (with a maximum duration of one year) while retaining activity support, within the municipal adult education, higher education, university, vocational higher education and folk high school systems. The adult education initiative in phase 3 will take effect on 3 August 2015.