VDAB to control unemployed job seekers
Top federal government members have agreed with the eight party presidents that signed the Butterfly Agreement on the 6th state reform to transfer the control on job seeking by the unemployed to the regions, it was confirmed during the Implementation Committee for Institutional Reforms Comori. Since July 2004 the National Employment Office RVA is responsible for this control by means of a complex system of evaluation interviews and penalties. The total of 101 000 unemployed candidates that were controlled last year resulted in almost 24 000 penalties ranging from a temporary reduction in benefits, a temporary suspension of benefits to complete exemption. This system is now set to become obsolete. In theory the control whether the unemployed are seeking a job will be allocated to the regions, but they can also leave it to the federal RVA at a cost. This will allow regional employer services like the Flemish Employment and Training Service VDAB to concentrate on their role as consultant advising jobseekers, trainer interns, professional courses and mediator between the unemployed and businesses, and leave the control job up to the RVA. The Flemish government would however like VDAB to adopt the role of both consultant and controller in 2015. VDAB’s top manager Fons Leroy is aware of this intended move and is already at work behind the scenes on a ‘green paper’ on this new role. Set on efficiency and simplifying procedures, he sees this as a “huge opportunity” and believes the new control function will strengthen the activation policy encouraging people to find a job, and avoid current duplication of VDAB consultants and RVA controllers. He also wants to get rid of the red tape of certificates companies currently have to issue so that jobseekers can prove to the RVA that they’ve sought a job. Some questions remain unanswered, however. There is still uncertainty about the number of RVA officials that will be transferred to the regional labour services, what will be their assignment and in what statute they will be employed.