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Signing on to be scrapped for the unemployed

8 June 2005

BRUSSELS – The days of the unemployed queuing to sign on for their dole are numbered in Belgium.

On Wednesday, ‘La Libre Belgique’ reported that employment minister Freya Van den Bossche is to scrap the obligation to sign on.

The change will start from 1 January, announced social democrat (SPA) Van den Bossche, in response to a parliamentary question from Christian social CDH member Benoit Dreze.

The change will save the Belgian communes, which handle sign-ons, hundreds of thousands of euros. The authorities in Liege, for instance, which has 15,000 people unemployed, said it needed seven workers to deal with sign-ons, at a cost of EUR 496,000 a year.

Van den Bossche said the process of checking that the unemployed are actively looking for work would be ensured in the future by increased checks by Onem, the office which pays out dole.

And, rather than collecting unemployment statistics from the commune’s records, the data will be provided by the Carrefour bank – the electronic network which pools information from the different social security institutions.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news