The European Commission has published a report to assess the state of play of the measures taken to improve the situation and reintegration of long-term unemployed (LTU) in EU countries. This report measures the steps taken since the publication by European Council in 2016 of a Recommendation to speed up the return to work of LTU.
EPR contributed to a consultation on LTU by providing its input based on its members expertise.
The evaluation has shown that EU countries have put in place measures following the Recommendation. The most considerable policy changes have taken place there where there is less-developed support for the long-term unemployed which reflects in a positive impact for the whole of the EU countries to advance on the reintegration of LTU. To evaluate the effectiveness of the Recommendation the following elements have been taken into account:
Encouraging proactive outreach, for example registering with public employment services (PES);
Putting the focus on the individual. In more than half of the EU countries, the PES provide long-term unemployed with more tailored individual assessments and guidance than other unemployed groups and most PES provide an Individual Action Plan (IAP) to all registered unemployed soon after registration.
Breaking down silos to increase coordination. Coordination of services is important to address the multiple barriers that the long-term unemployed often face. Coordination mechanisms between PES (Public Employment Services) and social services – such as data sharing agreements or referral systems – now exist in all EU countries, though the form varies.
Intensifying employer involvement. Employer incentives are the most common form of employer involvement. All EU countries now provide services to employers such as screening of candidates and placement support and a vast majority provide workplace mentoring and training. Developments are less widespread in support for social enterprises and post-placement support services.
Penalties through administrative processes or stigma on people who has been out of the labour market for longer than a year poses a big obstacle on their reintegration together with ageist considerations. A shift is needed in order to make sure public measures addressed to LTU are focused on their reintegration moving from the old model of penalties and sanctions and making more personal services available.
EPR proposes the European Commission Employment and Disability Units to work together to make sure that the next European Disability Strategy has a stronger focus on employment as people with disabilities often belong to the group of long-term unemployed.
Read here the European Commission Factsheet on LTU