A key challenge for social security organisations in Europe

The reintegration of persons with disabilities into the workforce is at the centre of the debate in Europe in the context of demographic changes leading to an ageing workforce. To adapt to these developments, social security systems in a wide number of European countries introduced reforms to their reintegration services. In order to share national experiences regarding vocational rehabilitation measures and launch a discussion on the challenges faced by social security institutions, a peer review was launched by ESIP.

Twelve institutions participated from 9 Member organisations and two non-Member organisations to present their vocational rehabilitation measures. The results of this peer review reveal the diversity of the organisation and provision of vocation and rehabilitation measures in Europe. Some countries provide a limited number of vocational rehabilitation measures and privilege cash benefits whilein others different actors are competent and their coordination can be improved. Finally, an integrated rehabilitation concept has been put in place in several other countries to allow a quick and sustainable return to work. This concept along with early intervention has proved particularly successful. Despite their differences, the participants of this peer review face similar challenges including demographic change, lack of skilled personnel and budget cuts.

In addition, the results of this peer review fed into an event organised in the European Parliament on 16 September 2015 jointly by ESIP and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) under the auspices of the German Member of Parliament Jutta Steinruck. This event was the opportunity to reiterate the importance of integrating persons with disabilities in the labour market by removing obstacles. During the debate, best practices at European and national level were also underlined such as the use of vouchers, action plans, and campaigns or individualised step-by-step reintegration of older workers. The question of appropriate action at European level was raised.

Find more in the position paper, peer review and summary report of the debate.