In working order -
disability policy, economic rationales and employability

Thursday February 4th, 2016

Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud (HESAV), Lausanne

Swiss disability insurance (DI) has recently undergone fundamental transformations. In accordance with active social policies, the 5th and 6th revisions of DI have restricted the right to disability pensions and introduced various measures aiming at sustaining the employability and the labor market integration of persons with health issues. The impacts of these reforms go far beyond the objectives of increasing the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation and of reducing the costs of pensions. This one day conference will address several questions pertaining to the consequences of the implementation of this new social policy at various levels and for different stakeholders.

How have the DI reforms been implemented through the decentralized structures of cantonal disability offices and vocational rehabilitation services? How do they address employers, who ultimately decide on the employment of people with health issues, and for what actual reasons do employers hire workers considered as less productive? What are the continuities and breaks with previous policies regarding the employers’ responsibilities? How do the new rehabilitation measures impact DI recipients and people close to them? Do these new policies blur the boundaries drawn between people considered as able (to work) and those considered as dis-abled?

This conference aims at discussing these issues on the basis of recent sociological and historical studies conducted in Switzerland by Alan Canonica (University of Basel), Anna Gonon, Eva Nadai and Fabienne Rotzetter (Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit, FHNW), Monika Piecek, Isabelle Probst and Jean-Pierre Tabin (HESAV and EESP, HES·SO).

The conference will be held in English (no translation available). Each of the research presentations will be discussed by invited scholars (Benoît Beuret, University of Fribourg and EESP (HES·SO); Cristina Ferreira, HESAV (HES·SO); Urs Germann, University of Bern).