Bridging the Gulf between Welfare and Economy. Collaboration between Disability Insurance and Employers
06 - Präsentation
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Over the past 15 years inter-institutional cooperation has become a prominent topic in social policy in Switzerland, especially with respect to the labour market integration of the unemployed. In all cantons concrete collaboration projects have been established. However, while these projects may improve inter-organizational collaboration within the welfare system they fall short of addressing the missing link of occupational integration, namely including employers into respective networks. After all, the success of welfare state efforts to reintegrate the unemployed hinges on the decisions of business enterprises to actually employ these people. Especially in the disability insurance (IV) the collaboration with employers has become a pressing issue. Following a marked increase in pensions and costs during the 1990s and influenced by OECD recommendations the IV has undergone several major reforms aimed at strengthening the focus on occupational integration. Employers are here seen as key players. The paper argues that bridging the gulf between welfare and economy poses the twofold problem of establishing organizational networks and of reframing the cultural conventions of social and economic action. On the organizational level the cantonal IV-offices are “translating” cooperation models developed earlier for collaboration within the welfare system to cooperation with employers and other insurers, while at the same time establishing one-to-one contacts with individual business enterprises. Regarding cultural reframing, they have to invoke a complex array of social and economic rationales to persuade businesses to employ workers with “limited productivity”.