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The Professional Experience Fund (PEF) is a project implemented by FPS Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue in Belgium. It is a budget fund.

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
The Professional Experience Fund project contributes to the increase of the employment rate of older workers in Belgium by encouraging labour market stakeholders to adapt and improve the working environment. The Professional Experience Fund raises awareness, consults employers on improving working environment, contributes actively to the adaptation of regulation for workplaces and issues grants to employers. This project addresses health management issues related to sustainable workability and employability. / / Employers can submit a project proposal to the Professional Experience Fund to improve the well-being of workers aged 45 or over. Grants are then allocated to allow employers to measure the 'workability' of their workers as well as analyse and then improve their working environment. / Also sectorial organizations benefit from Professional Experience Fund grants. They can agree on a collaboration with the PEF in order to convince their members (employers in the same business area) to start up an PEF-project. /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
    Type of Policy
    • private for profit
    • private not for profit
    Duration of the policy
    The Professional Experience Fund has its legal framework in a 2001 Law; but became operational end of 2004 until further notice.
    Scope of innovation
    • Scope: it is a budget fund. It started up and stays active until further notice.
    • Budgets: 5,3 Mio yearly (all incudes grants and functioning)
    • Number of intended beneficiaries: Belgium counts +/- 220.000 employers; but with a budget of 4,4 Mio ? approx. 220 projects can be financed
    • Spatial coverage: national
    General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
    Key objective is to prepare the workplace to integrate older workers in the short , the medium and longer term. / - The Professional Experience Fund team started implementing the royal decree in a pragmatic way, putting priorities on implementing the spirit of the regulation in the workplace first, trying to reach the older worker on the work floor. / - The Professional Experience Fund raises consciousness at both micro (enterprises) and meso level (whole sectors, their members and other partners). These interventions have an effect in the medium to longer term, because those sector leaders are, in their turn, also alerting and informing their member-enterprises. / - Working on legislation to integrate changes more efficiently is the long term work of the Professional Experience Fund. / / Activities of the project / To achieve the project?s objectives, the project has undertaken the following activities: / - launching campaigns to raise awareness / - consulting employers on improving the working environment / - issuing grants for proposals for change by employers / - contributing actively to the adaptations of legislation and workplace regulation. /
    Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
    Providing subsidies to companies is one of the main activities. Employers can submit a project to the Professional Experience Fund to improve the well-being of their workers aged 45 or over. Applications for subsidies are expected to relate to the following logically successive actions: / - Measuring the workability of older workers by using a measuring instrument (the WAI ? Work Ability Index and the VOW/QFT, Vragenlijst over Werkbaarheid/Questionnaire Facult‚s de Travail, are examples), administered by the company doctor. / - Analysing or diagnosing the working environment by using a diagnosis method (via the company doctor), detecting aspects of the working environment which can be improved in order to increase, or at least maintain the workability of (older) workers. The DEPARIS method (D‚pistage Participative des Risques) is a good example of such a diagnosis of risk prevention at four levels. / The measuring instrument and the diagnosis method must be approved by the authorities the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue to be eligible for granting. / - Concrete improvements in the workplace in order to reduce the psychosocial burden or physical conditions. These may include ergonomic improvements and/ or working on broadening and enlarging of the competencies of the older worker. /
    Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
    Adapting legislation to integrate acquired knowhow so that legislation becomes more efficient.
    Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
    • encompassing security
    Type of innovation
    • new form of policy implementation/delivery
    • new policy, practice or measure
    New outputs
    • job guidance, coaching and/or counselling
    • learning workplaces
    • others (adapted workplaces ; less fysical and psychosocial load for the worker)
    • regulations of the labour market (in 2006 : 2nd royal decree. 2014: concept of royal decree is ready (based on the 10 years experience))
    Intended target group
    We target the 45-plus worker working in private for-profit organisations.
    Working age population
    • main source of income: paid work
    Employers-private institutional actors
    The field of application
    Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
    • agency or national social insurance body
    • central state
    • employees (organised or individual)
    • employers (organised or individual)
    • private for-profit organisations (commercial)
    • supra/extra national organisations (sectorial instances (social partners: employer and employees organisations))
    Intended output
    • job guidance, coaching and counselling
    • learning workplaces
    • lifelong learning
    • others
    • subsidies/tax-credits
    Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
    No evidence availableNo evidence available
    Intended and unintended outcomes
    approx. 250 projects / year (during +/- 7 years already)
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