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Pilots work according to ability

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
Experimental projects aimed to innovate practices aimed at placing workers with disabilities in general and workers in sheltered employment in particular into regular work. There were four pilots: one to make arrangements with employers about vacancies for this target group, one to change practices of sheltered work companies, one to improve co-operation with the unemployment agency and one to develop a new instrument for financial compensation of reduced worker productivity, ?wage dispensation?.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Temporary
  • Spatial coverage: National, but in practice limited to a number of pilot municipalities and sheltered employment agencies
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
These four pilots were meant as a preparation for the new participation law which will combine legislation for Social Assistance, temporarily and partially handicapped young unemployed and workers that fall under the sheltered employment act, but who are considered to be able to work outside sheltered employment. This participation law was originally called ?law for working according to ability?, which aimed to stimulate participation in regular work as much as possible. Because of political changes this law did not pass, but the very similar participation law, is due in 2015. The pilots were meant to provide lessons on how to re-integrate unemployed who because of disabilities of various kinds cannot provide 100% productivity and who might need adapted working places. Every pilot addressed a specific issue: the involvement of employers to provide vacancies and possibly to adapt working places (pilot 1), the need for sheltered employment companies to become more outward looking ( pilot 2, see also: WSW), the need for co-operation with the unemployment agency UWV (pilot 3) and a way to compensate employers for costs related to the hiring of workers who can probably not deliver 100% productivity (pilot 4). For this last issue, the instrument of wage dispensation was developed, allowing employers to pay wages below minimum wage based on an ?objective? measurement of the productivity of the worker. Social benefits would supplement to achieve minimum wage level for the worker. The instrument of wage dispensation however was abolished as a result of the social agreement of 2013 and replaced by traditional wage subsidies for the employer. Every pilot consisted of various projects in which several actors participated: sheltered work companies, educational institutions, employer organisations, the unemployment agency and municipalities. The pilots did not have explicit placement targets, although it was expected that successful practice would result in placements.
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
Temporary, experimental pilots
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
The pilots were meant as an input for a more structural focus on participation in regular work of people with various kinds of working disabilities
Type of innovation
  • other (Pilots to experiment with and develop new methods, instruments and new forms of co-operation between stake holders)
New outputs
  • governance (Pilots aimed at better co-operation between public agencies and between public agencies and employers)
  • subsidies/tax-credits (Wage dispensation was introduced to compensate employers for lower productivity of workers)
Intended target group
Workers with disabilities in general and workers in sheltered employment in particular
Working age population
  • employment situation (Unemployed or employed in sheltered work companies)
  • income level (low/medium/high) (Low)
  • main source of income: paid work
  • main source of income: social protection (Social Assistance)
Employers-private institutional actors
Targeted for pilot on involving employers and for the pilot with wage dispensation
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body
  • central state (Regulation and budget)
  • employers (organised or individual)
  • municipal government
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (Sheltered work companies (which may both public or private) and educational organisations)
Clarification of the role of various actors
Every pilot consisted of various projects in which several actors participated: sheltered work companies, educational institutions, employer organisations, the unemployment agency and municipalities
Intended output
  • governance
  • others (Vacancies)
  • subsidies/tax-credits
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
Placements rates have been measured in pilots one and four. Results varied across the projects, but generally placement rates are lower than was expected.For employers hiring workers with wage dispensation in pilot 4
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Every pilot has been evaluated. The evaluations do not primarily focus on outcomes, but rather on ?lessons learned?. General conclusions with respect to resilience are hard to draw. One general conclusion however is that placing unemployed with disabilities is complicated and cannot be achieved by financial stimuli such as wage dispensation alone, although risk reduction for employers is an essential point of attention. / / With respect to involving employers, evaluators conclude that instruments to reduce risks for employers are essential, as well as in many instances, the adaptation of working places. Placements via educational institutions were the least successful. Following the pilot a number of large companies have started an initiative called ?The most common company? (?De gewoonste zaak?) aimed at placing more unemployed with disabilities. Therefore, the pilots have been somehow successful in involving employers to specifically pay attention to hiring of this vulnerable group. / / Concerning changing the working methods of sheltered work companies the conclusions are rather negative. Little real innovation has been observed. The same goes for co-operation with the unemployment agency: this has hardly been achieved, because of changing priorities of the unemployment agency as well as budget cuts. / / The pilot on wage dispensation has shown that an instrument to compensate employers for costs is necessary, but not sufficient to realise placements. Attention is needed for the quality of matching, risk reduction and often adaptation of the work. The instrument as such is considered to be very complicated by all parties involved. In the social agreement of 2013 it was agreed to discontinue this instrument and to revert to wage subsidy as the instrument to compensate employers. /
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