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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Earning disregards in social assistance

Country of implementation
Switzerland
General short description of the innovation
In 2005, the guidelines issued by the Swiss Conference for Social Assistance were revised, introducing a system of earnings disregards in social assistance to encourage social assistance benefit recipients to take up work or increase their revenues. The objective was to minimize the so-called ?threshold effect?, i.e. an effective decline in available income due to a reduction/suppression of social benefits and renewed taxation after taking up a job again. / According to the 2005 CSIAS guidelines, earnings disregards can amount between 400 and 600 CHF/month ? between 329,1 and 493,6 Euros/month. / The guidelines issued by the CSIAS are not binding as such. However, most Cantons, which keep full responsibility for social assistance in Switzerland, have translated this recommendation into their legislation.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
  • social
  • wage
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
In force since 2005 in most Cantons
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Budgets: difficult to know as it is financed at Cantonal level
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: potentially all able-bodied recipients of working age, i.e. about 60% of all social assistance beneficiaries
  • Spatial coverage: national (implemented in most Cantons)
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective was to make work more attractive for social assistance recipients, and minimize the so-called ?threshold effect?, i.e. an effective decline in available income after work take-up due to a reduction/abolition of social benefits and renewed taxation.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
moderate
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • liberalisation
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • subsidies/tax-credits (earnings disregards for social assistance beneficiaries in employment)
Intended target group
able-bodied people of working age on social assistance
Working age population
  • main source of income: social protection (social assistance)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • regional government
Clarification of the role of various actors
And the Swiss Conference for Social Assistance (SKOS/CSIAS) as the supra-regional association in charge of editing national guidelines for social assistance
Intended output
  • subsidies/tax-credits (earnings disregards for social assistance beneficiaries in employment)
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
The introduction of earnings disregards has not managed to significantly improve the employment rate of able-bodied social assistance recipients, which has remained stable at about 28% between 2005 and 2012
Intended and unintended outcomes
excepted for a few Cantons, all employed people in receipt of social assistance
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