Disability, Work and Inclusion in Slovenia

Towards Early Intervention for Sick Workers

One in seven working‑age adults identifies as having a disability in OECD countries. Many of them are excluded from meaningful work and have low levels of income and social engagement. Becoming sick or disabled often leads people to leave the labour market even if they still can and want to work. Governments can help create an environment that supports a return‑to‑work for such people. This report reviews the Slovenian sickness and disability system and proposes recommendations to promote the employment of people with disability. Frequent long-term sickness absences are a growing issue in Slovenia, in part due to the design of the sickness insurance programme: workers falling ill get relatively high payments, for an unlimited time, with no activation or return-to-work offers. This report shows that intervening early is key to preventing sickness claimants from exiting the labour force. For this to occur, employers and occupational experts have to be involved sooner than at present, in a structured vocational rehabilitation process. Sickness insurance reform should provide the right work incentives, align sickness and disability assessment for long-term sickness claimants, and cap the maximum sickness benefit payment period. Cooperation between all key stakeholders in different phases of the process is critical. Such cooperation will allow the much-needed creation of a joint body responsible for the assessment of sickness, disability and vocational rehabilitation needs.

Available from March 01, 2022


Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Assessment and recommendations for sickness and disability programmes in Slovenia
The challenges of the Slovenian sickness insurance programme
The challenges of the Slovenian disability insurance programme
The role of unemployment benefits, employment services and social assistance for jobseekers with health limitations in Slovenia
Return-to-work policies in Slovenia for persons with health problems or disabilities
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