twitter   facebook   facebook
← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Starting job contracts, also called ?first job contracts? (startbaanovereenkomsten en startbaanverplichting)

Country of implementation
Belgium
General short description of the innovation
The ?starting jobs? policy was introduced in 2000 in an effort to reduce youth unemployment and integrate young people as quickly as possible and in a sustainable way in the labour market. Therefore, both public and private (social profit and profit) employers with a minimum of 50 employees have been put under the obligation to hire young people (<26) at a minimum rate of 1.5% to 3% of their total amount of full time equivalent employees. In addition, all private employers which have at least 50 employees should altogether hire at least 4% of the total amount of their full time equivalent employees. The newly hired employees should not be engaged to replace other employees. / Three types of ?starting job labour contracts? are distinguished: / ? Type 1) normal labour contract (min. half time; fixed or temporary); / ? Type 2) combination of a part-time labour contract and a (certified) training (of min. 240 hours/ year); / ? Type 3) learning, apprenticeship or insertion labour contract / / In addition, subsidies have been introduced which reduce the labour cost for employers engaging young people in a starting job contract. These subsidies are targeted at specific vulnerable subgroups among the young people. The subsidies take two forms: / 1. A reduction of the employer?s social security contribution for young people who are: / a. Paid low wages (Since 2013 this ?reduction of employers? contributions targeted at the young employees? with low wages has been abolished. Instead, employers can make use of the structural reduction of employers? contributions for employees with low wages regardless of age.) / b. Younger than 19 / c. Very low educated (i.e. less than second grade of secondary education) / d. Low educated (i.e. less than third grade of secondary education) / e. Low educated and from foreign descent (i.e. without a nationality from the EU) / f. Low educated and with a working disability / g. Middle educated and with a working disability / h. Middle educated and at least 156 days unemployed / 2. The ?activation? of the unemployment benefit of the young person who is engaged: if an employer engages a young person who is registered as unemployed and who is either very low educated or low educated and in addition disabled or from foreign descent, the employer can reduce the wage by (max.) 350 euro during 6 months. The employee is compensated for this reduction as he/she continues to receive the unemployment benefit (max. 350 euro) during this same period. /
Target group
Youth
Policy Field
    Type of Policy
    • public
    Duration of the policy
    Starting year: the law dates from 1999, the policy started off in 2000. The policy has been changed several times and is still ongoing.
    Scope of innovation
    • Scope: structural
    • Budgets: in the third semester of 2011 the employer?s social contribution reductions amounted to 44 771 800 euro for the private sector and 542 000 for the public sector (Source: Report of the state audit office ?Rekenhof? on a follow-up audit of the ?startbaanovereenkomst? (published 2013)
    • Number of intended beneficiaries: all young people (<26) entering the labour market (figures unavailable)
    • Spatial coverage: national
    General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
    The aim of the policy is to combat poverty among young people in the first six months after they have left school.
    Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
    offering young people (<26) a quick and sustainable start on the labour market with a particular focus on more vulnerable target groups (cf. above)
    Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
    higher labour market participation and lower unemployment rates among the young (<26) with a particular focus on more vulnerable target groups (cf. above)
    Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
    • encompassing security
    Type of innovation
    • new policy, practice or measure
    New outputs
    • regulations of the labour market (obligation for employers to engage a minimum of young persons)
    • subsidies/tax-credits (reduction of the employer?s social contribution + ?activation? of the unemployment benefit)
    Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
    No clear outputs, objectives nor indicators to measure these have been specified by the policy-maker (Rekenhof rapport 2013).
    Intended target group
    All young persons (<26) who enter the labour market, with a specific focus on the following target groups: / a. Those paid low wages / b. Very low educated (i.e. less than second grade of secondary education) / c. Low educated (i.e. less than third grade of secondary education) / d. Low educated and from foreign descent (i.e. without a nationality from the EU) / e. Low educated and with a working disability / f. Middle educated and with a working disability / g. Middle educated and at least 156 days unemployed
    Working age population
    • educational level (low/medium/high) (low (and medium in combination with a disability or longer term unemployment))
    • employment situation (school leavers and unemployed)
    • main source of income: social protection (none or unemployment benefit)
    Employers-private institutional actors
    all private (profit and social profit) who employ at least 50 full time equivalents
    Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
    • central state
    • employees (organised or individual)
    • employers (organised or individual)
    Intended output
    • regulation of the labour market
    • subsidies/tax-credits
    Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
    Should be the case: labour costs are reduced for particular target groups among the young engaged with a starting job contract (cf. above)The measure is aimed at higher labour market participation among young people, however no figures are available to assess whether this goal was achieved (thanks to the measure)The measure is aimed at reducing unemployment among young people, however no figures are available to assess whether this goal was achieved (thanks to the measure)
    Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
    82% of the private firms fulfil their obligation to employ at least 3% young people. However, only 24.4% of the young people engaged with a starting job contract appear to be eligible for the reduction of employer?s social contributions for particular target groups. In total 3 to 4% of persons employed with a starting job contract qualifies for the reductions for very low educated, low educated, low educated with a working disability or low educated from foreign descent. While in fact 21.8% of young people are low educated. The most vulnerable groups among the young are thus insufficiently reached with the policy. Probably, employers are not sufficiently familiar with these reductions and/or the system of reductions is too complex. (Source: Evaluation report of the starting job contracts of 2013 by CRB & NAR)
    Share this page: