Sunday 31 May 2020

Five cities start flexible benefits experiment for jobless


Five cities have been given permission to experiment with different ways to support people on benefits, according to the NOS.

The Dutch national broadcaster reports that Jetta Kleinsma, caretaker junior jobs minister, has given Groningen, Ten Boer, Wageningen, Tilburg and Deventer permission to try other methods after the summer.

They have an exemption from legislation that normally means anyone receiving a long-term jobseeker’s allowance must fulfil various ‘reintegration’ requirements.

But these five municipal councils want to try other approaches. ‘We are investigating whether more guidance, or actually fewer rules and obligations make a difference to people’s happiness and wellbeing,’ Tilburg municipality’s Erik de Ridder told NOS.

So, the councils want to see if one group can keep a limited amount of income from jobs without losing benefits, another has far fewer obligations in return for the dole, and another has more intensive guidance.

Amsterdam, Nijmegen and Utrecht are reportedly also keen to try the experiment.

But the Zeeland municipality of Terneuzen, which had wanted to provide an obligation-free basic income of €993 a month, is not on the list. Its idea was ruled by the social affairs ministry to be unlawful in January.

The government says in a press release that the new relaxation in the normal rules is for ‘a form of experiment with various research groups to find out in practice how people people on benefits can best be motivated or guided in (again) finding a place in the jobs market.’

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