1 July 2004
BRUSSELS – Strict new controls designed to oblige young jobseekers to prove they are actively looking for work entered into force in Belgium on Thursday.
The new rules require unemployed Belgians under the age of thirty to produce evidence of active job seeking or face penalties.
The system will be applied to the current 90,000 unemployed Belgians who have been without a job for more than 15 months.
The changes have been strongly opposed by workers unions and the Union of Towns and Communes of Wallonia, which has protested it will have to bear the costs of putting the new laws into practise.
Workers unions FBTB and CSC have argued against the proposals on three grounds.
Firstly, the unions protest the change in the burden of proof, where the jobseeker will now have to prove that he has been actively seeking work rather than the authorities having to show that work or training has been turned down.
Secondly, the unemployed person must respond to several summons to prove active jobseeking while under the threat of losing unemployment benefit.
The final point of contention rests with the reduction or loss of benefits after a second negative hearing.
The jobseeker would lose their unemployment benefit if he or she is cohabiting or would have it reduced to the minimum level if living alone or head of the household while awaiting a third hearing.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news