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Law on investment in youth (WIJ)

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
Adaptation of Social Assistance law for young under 27, consisting of stricter requirements for youth to participate welfare-to-work programs or to go back to school. In 2012 this law was incorporated in the general Social Assistance law WWB, but the special conditions for youth stayed in tact.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
  • social
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
2009-2012, in 2012 the law was integrated into the general Social Assistance law WWB
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Structural
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: 39.000 young on Social Assistance (June 2013)
  • Spatial coverage: National
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Compared to general Social Assistance law, this law puts additional emphasis on activation requirements for young Social Assistance recipients. They can only receive Social Sssistance when they accept an offer of working-experience or guidance back to work or school. Municpalities are obliged to make such an offer. As such the act aims to achieve a ?comprehensive activation approach? for young sa-recipients. In 2012 an obligatory ?waiting period? of 4 weeks was introduced, meaning that young people can only receive social assistance four weeks after claiming the benefit, provided they can prove that they have made sufficient effort to find work or to go back to school. (this waiting period will be introduced for all social assistance recipients in 2015, when municipalities choose to do so). With regards to young, return to school is considered to be equally valuable as finding work, given that most youngsters who apply for Social Assistance are low-skilled and have often dropped out of school.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
Structural enforcement of activation goal of Social Assistance
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • benefit eligibility (Stricter requirements with respect to activation to work or school)
  • job guidance, coaching and/or counselling
  • learning workplaces
Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
The act mainly accentuates the obligations of young concerning Social Assistance. However, the comprehensive approach has also lead to an increase in services and trajectories for young people on Social Assistance. Whether these services as such are innovative or not depends on the municipalities who are responsible for implementation.
Intended target group
Social Assistance recipients under 27
Working age population
  • employment situation (Unemployed)
  • income level (low/medium/high) (Low)
  • main source of income: social protection (Social Assistance)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (Regulation)
  • municipal government (Implementation)
  • private for-profit organisations (commercial) (Delivery of actual re-integration services and programs)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO) (Schools)
Intended output
  • benefit eligibility (Stricter requirements concerning activation to work or return to school)
  • job guidance, coaching and counselling
  • learning workplaces
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Although an evaluation has been carried out in 2011, the impact on resilience related labour market indicators such as employment or return to school could not be measured. A prevention effect in terms of lower inflow into social assistance has not been found. This is explained due to the short period, but also because interference with other programs in the same period such as prevention of early school leaving and action plans on youth unemployment. Since the end of 2012 the number of young on Social Assistance has been rising because of the crisis, after a long period of reduction which may partially have been related to the stricter Social Assistance act. The evaluation mainly concludes that the act has stimulated municipalities to implement a comprehensive approach for young. Youngsters are generally satisfied with the programs that have been offered, but data on effectiveness of these programs is not available.
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