Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 07/05/2018

Integration of long-term unemployed into the labour market – have your say!

The Commission seeks your opinion on the measures proposed for tackling long-term unemployment.

Integration of long-term unemployed into the labour market – have your say!

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Two years ago the Council adopted a Recommendation aiming to support the then 11 million long-term unemployed back into the labour market.  Since then the number of long-term unemployed has reduced to 8 million and numerous actions are underway. Some Member States have started deep reforms of policies, practices and infrastructure while others have put in place specific measures, such as hiring incentives and employment subsidies, to promote recruitment and activation of the long-term unemployed.

There is now more emphasis on providing individualised services, and training programmes have increased. Nevertheless, the degree of integration of services in the form of Single Points of Contact as well as employers’ involvement continues to vary considerably between Member States.

Last week, the Commission launched a Public Consultation to gather views of different actors – from public authorities and employment and social services providers, to civil society and individuals – on how support to the long-term unemployed has evolved and is being delivered in response to the Recommendation. Its results will feed into the Commission’s report to the Council on the actions taken in response to the Recommendation, due in Spring 2019.

To support implementation and monitoring of actions taken, in 2016, Member States and the Commission developed together a quantitative indicator framework and started collecting data on that basis in the year 2017. The first results provide an important first quantitative mapping of the state of play in the Member States, but also highlight methodological limitations, especially concerning the different interpretations of Job Integration Agreement in Member States and data definitions. The second data collection round launched in March 2018 introduces already several changes to make the data more robust and comparable in the future. 

In 2017, the Commission kicked off a 2-year innovative project via the European Social Fund Transnational Network on Employment involving a number of Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain). The project aims to develop ‘long-term unemployment support packages’ in the form of transferable toolkits through an exchange between more experienced ‘donor projects’ and less experienced ‘recipient countries’. The toolkits that will be implementable with the ESF will focus on three themes linked to the Recommendation:

  • the sharing of case histories,
  • post-placement after-care support and
  • targeted employability support through work experience and vocational training in specific sectors. 

In parallel, to provide concrete guidance to Member States in the design of their policies and measures, the Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) has designed and adopted a set of quality standards for the delivery of a single point of contact and a Job Integration Agreement. The PES Network has also refined the qualitative assessments which are part of the Benchlearning project and launched a targeted survey on the integration of long-term unemployed into the labour market in April 2018. 

Want to have your say on the issue? You can access the public consultations questionnaire in your language. It is available until 31 July 2018.

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