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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Activation of benefits

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
In ?activation of benefit schemes?, social security benefits (unemployment or welfare benefits) are being used as an employment subsidy. This means that jobseekers who find work can keep part of their benefit while employers can deduct this amount from the net wage payable. The activation of the benefit may be coupled with a reduction of the employer?s contribution and can be granted temporarily or permanent. The duration and amount of the benefit may depend on age, unemployment duration, and the type of plan. Different schemes exist for different target groups (long-term unemployed, welfare recipients, poorly qualified, etc.). / / Activa / ACTIVA-plans are the most used activation of benefits schemes in Belgium. They are built up of several systems aiming at a specific target group of employees or employers. Employers who hire jobseekers can claim a fixed exemption of employer?s social security contributions and a financial compensation for the wages. During 2010-2011 (crisis period) the Activa plan was temporarily strengthened for some target groups by increasing the subsidy and broadening eligibility criteria temporarily (ACTIVA WIN-WIN). / / / Other activation of benefit schemes: / Social Inclusion Economy (SINE): promotes suitable employment in the social economy / Professional transition programmes (PTP): provides on the job training in the public and not-for profit sector. /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
    Type of Policy
    • public
    Duration of the policy
    Activa-plans are in place since 2002, however similar policy measures making use of an ?activation of benefit scheme? have been implemented before.
    Scope of innovation
    • Scope: structural
    • Budgets: Year Budget spent in each year (in million EUR) Activa Plan + Start Activa Win- Win Sine PTP 2009 160 0 60,6 28,3*2010 125,9 162,7 63,6 26,0*2011 111,4 453,6 62,6 24,1*2012 126,3 266,3 60,3 24,1*2013 143,9 1,6 60,0 24,2*Source:
    • Spatial coverage: national
    General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
    The objectives of activation of benefit schemes may differ according to the characteristics of the policy measures. In general they aim to: / - Encourage hiring of long-term unemployed / - Move benefit recipients into work and eliminate employment or inactivity pitfalls / - Increase the work experience and overall employment rate of groups who are overrepresented in the long term unemployment figures / - Decrease labour costs of these target groups for employers /
    Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
    • encompassing security
    Type of innovation
    • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
    New outputs
      Intended target group
      Vulnerable target groups: poorly qualified, long term unemployed or welfare recipients.
      Working age population
      • main source of income: social protection (unemployment and social assistance benefits)
      Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
      • agency or national social insurance body (National Employment Office (implementation))
      • employers (organised or individual)
      Intended output
      • subsidies/tax-credits
      Intended and unintended outcomes
      Activa Plan + Start Activa Win- Win SINE PTP / 2009 34.686 0 11.093 5.693 / 2010 28.033 17.998 11.626 5.213 / 2011 25.180 49.251 11.400 4.900 / 2012 28.497 29.195 10.953 4.846 / 2013 32.565 315 10.876 4.859 /
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