The most effective rehabilitation model for job (re-)entry of people with mental illness is supported employment. A barrier to introducing supported employment into standard care is its temporally unlimited provision, which conflicts with health and social legislation in many European countries.
To test the impact of different ‘placement budgets’, i.e. a predefined maximum time budget for job seeking until take-up of competitive employment.
Participants (116) were randomly assigned to 25 h, 40 h or 55 h placement budgets in an intent-to-treat analysis. We applied the individual placement and support model over 24 months, following participants for 36 months. Primary outcome was employment in the labour market for at least 3 months.
The proportion of participants obtaining competitive employment was 55.1% in the 25 h group, 37.8% in the 40 h group and 35.8% in the 55 h group. In a Cox regression analysis, time to employment was slightly lower in the 25 h group relative to the 40 h (hazard ratio 1.78, 95% CI 0.88–3.57, P = 0.107) and 55 h groups (hazard ratio 1.74, 95% CI 0.86–3.49, P = 0.122), but this was not statistically significant. The vast majority of all participants who found a job did so within the first 12 months (80.4%).
A restricted time budget for job finding and placement does not affect the rate of successful employment. In accordance with legislation, a restriction of care provision seems justified and enhances the chances of supported employment being introduced in statutory services.