Everyone knows them. Those people that do not have a job and just can’t seem to find one. The reactions to that vary. You hear statements along the line of “if you really want to work, you could have a job tomorrow” or “why don’t you go work behind the counter of the supermarket?” However, it isn’t that easy. The unemployment numbers speak for themselves. An increase of 68.000 unemployed in 2012. Of this number, 51% is still unemployed after three months according to the CBS, of which the percentage highly educated is higher than the number of low educated. In 2013 the unemployment percentage in the Netherlands amounts to 8,7% of the labor force. The CBS also mentions that in the first quarter of this year 21.000 more people have received a WWB benefit. The increase in the whole of 2012 was ‘only’ 12.000.
Consequences for job seekers
The consequences for the job seeker are massive and of a different nature. They are often tired of job applications, because it is not easy to deal with rejection after rejection. Feelings arise of not being allowed to participate in the society, of feeling outcast. Self-confidence is getting a solid dent. To still be able to find a job, job applications are sent to job vacancies that are far below the own education level. Because for the majority there is definitely a desire to work. However, this also leads to no result. And the longer the jobseeking period lasts, the more difficult is gets to find a paid job again. Because of the decrease in income it becomes increasingly hard to get around. There is no room for nice things. This increases the feeling of being an outcast of society.
Re-integration budget WW whittled down
On March 14 2011 the minister of Social Affairs and Employment at the time, minister Kamp, indicated in a letter that the responsibility of participating in the society lies with the civilian. The government will only support where necessary and cutbacks are necessary. The cutback measure that was implemented for the UWV consists of EUR 299 million per year. This happens among others by cutting in the number of labor positions and the complete whittling down of the re-integration budget.
In the June notes of the UWV it is described that the benefit costs will rise intensely because of the increase in the number of unemployed with EUR 1,4 billion in 2013 and EUR 900 billion in 2014. The implementation costs consist of only 6,3% of the total expenses.
No assistance from UWV Werkbedrijf
In practice it turns out that there is no assistance to be expected from the UWV when it comes to finding a job as long as the job seeker is in the WW (“Werkloosheidswet”). Only at the moment that the job seeker ends up in the WWB (the “bijstand”), are there more possibilities for guidance when it comes to finding work.
Practically this means that the coaches of the UWV Werkbedrijf are not allowed to do anything for the job seeker during the first three months. A requirement of four job applications per month is applied. Possibilities to have work experience internships, are not allowed in many regions. The policy when it comes to this is not equal nationwide. However, on the moment that the job seeker ends up in the WWB, the Social Service does have re-integration provisions available to them. In many municipalities the job application requirement is set higher than it is applied within the WW.
Introduction Participation Law in 2015
The government wants to introduce the Participation Law on January 1st 2015. The goal of this Participation Law is to have as many people as possible to participate fully in society. Many young people are currently getting a Wajong-benefit because of incapacity for work. After reinspection the Wajong people will be (partially) approved, after which they will receive a WWB benefit. Employers have agreed in the social agreement to generate jobs for people with a labor restriction. For the ‘healthy’ people with a WWB benefit this law will change little to the current situation however.
Unemployment duration could be shortened
The logic is hard to understand when it comes to the cutback policy of the government. On the one hand the costs for benefits rises enormously because of the continuous grow in inflow in the WW and throughput to the WWB. On the other hand the budget of the UWV is whittled down which results in the outflow to work being smaller than required.
The consequence is that people are now without a job for a longer period. The grow of the number of people in the WWB shows this. That is exactly why it is of great importance to shortened the duration of the unemployment for as long as possible. Guidance by the UWV would be an excellent resource for this. With this consequences both personal as well as for society are prevented and the costs for the government decrease. The government would do well to make a re-integration budget available for the UWV Werkbedrijf and the review the decision making. The number of WWB benefits will remain at a more controlled level then and more job seekers will become happy with their new job.