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Sector Covenants

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
Sector covenants are collaboration agreements between sectors and the government of Flanders. Sectoral covenants provide a framework that commits all social partners of a sector to targets in the field of increasing diversity, synchronization of education and labour, and lifelong learning. These targets must not be met in each enterprise separately: social partners are expected to apply for support and to implement plans on the company level on a voluntary basis. Examples of targets include: the number of diversity plans to be concluded within the next year, the share of migrant in training courses set up by the sector, etc. / / When sectoral covenants are approved by the Flemish government, the sector receives funding for the recruitment of sectoral consultants who assist the social partners in the implementation of their sectoral plan and the preparation of dossiers. Sector covenants are agreements for 2-3 years. After each year, the industry should provide a progress or final evaluation report to the Flemish government. All sector covenants are monitored and evaluated annually by the Flemish government. /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • equal opportunities
Type of Policy
  • other (sectoral policy)
Duration of the policy
The first generation of sector covenants were concluded in the framework of the Flemish Employment Agreement 2001-2002. The policy became structural following the decree on sectoral covenants in 2009.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: regional
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Sector covenants have several objectives in the labour market/training field: increase diversity at the workfloor, promote lifelong learning and skills enhancement of employees and jobseekers. They aim for more proportionality of underrepresented minority groups in training through collective bargaining.
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • encompassing security
Type of innovation
  • new form of partnership or cooperation
New outputs
  • governance
  • lifelong learning
  • training schemes
Intended target group
The target group includes employers, incumbent workers as well as job seekers.
Working age population
  • employment situation (work & unemployed )
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • beneficiaries/users (Commercial as well as private non-profit employers as well as local governments are committed to these sector covenants. Priority groups for the diversity plans include migrants and disabled persons. As for education and LLL, any disadvantaged group can be targeted at. )
  • employees (organised or individual) (social partners )
  • employers (organised or individual) (social partners )
  • regional government
Intended output
  • learning workplaces
  • lifelong learning
  • training schemes
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
At present, 34 sectors covenants are concluded. Execution and coordination of the targets included in the covenants is done by 120 consultants, employed by joint sectoral organisations but subsidized by the Flemish government. / / The addenda to the sector covenants ended on July 31, 2010. The impact of this stimulus measure was evaluated. The results of the addendum action depend to a large extent on the cyclical responsiveness of a particular industry, the scope of the crisis and the pace of recovery. Overall, we find that the addenda have increased training participation in many sectors. Sectors could, by the increase in training budgets, extend the financial contribution of the training cost to a wider audience (including temporary workers, unemployed, self-employed). At the same time, sectors seemed to have difficulties in reaching out to workers who were dismissed or workers who were in specific anti-crisis measures such as temporary unemployment2. /
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