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1.4 bn for vulnerable young people

Two ministers launch a break with early retirement for the under 40s.

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The government presents its reform proposals today for the early pension scheme and flexijobs, calling for active efforts to help people back onto the labour market with new requirements for local councils.

“People will have one case worker. One person who is responsible throughout the handling of a case,” says Employment Minister Mette Frederiksen (SocDem).

Under the current system, those with a broad array of social problems risk having seven or eight different case workers from different authorities, depending on how many transfer payments they receive.

The government’s proposal orders local councils to set up rehabilitation teams in which case workers from the social, health, employment and education authorities will coordinate a plan of action in each case.

“At the moment the organisation is like a nest of silos, and that is something we would like to abolish,” says Social MinisterKaren Hækkerup.

The main thrust of the reform is that people under 40 should not be given early pensions. Some DKK1.4bn is to be made available for the new resource process, which will be in place for the individual for a maximum of five years.

On the other hand, the reform is expected to provide a further DKK1.9bn in state revenues, particularly from new rules for flexijob arrangements. A ceiling on state payments for those on flexijobs will mean that it will not be possible to maintain a high wage for shorter working hours.

The Liberal Party is prepared to negotiate; “We are positive towards cooperating with the government on this reform,” says Group Chairman Kristian Jensen, but adds that he wants to see an overall government plan first.

Local Government Denmark and the Association of Social Workers are both positive towards the government’s proposal.

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