Towards zero long-term unemployment in the EU: Job guarantees and other innovative approaches. Markowitsch, J. & Scharle, Á. Technical Report March, 2024.
Towards zero long-term unemployment in the EU: Job guarantees and other innovative approaches [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   1 download  
Long-term unemployment remains a persistent challenge in the European Union underlining the need for new innovative approaches. With this in mind, the ESF+ Social Innovation+ Initiative will focus on territorial measures that address long-term unemployment, and with a budget of EUR 23 million allocated in 2024, the European Commission aims to support the testing, transfer, and scaling up of innovative solutions to tackle this challenge. This report sets the scene for these activities by mapping and analysing ‘Zero Long-Term Unemployment’ (Zero LTU) and job guarantee initiatives across Europe. It explores existing research, peers into long-term unemployment statistics and provides a conceptual framework for comparison. Besides a literature review, it is methodologically built mainly on an online survey conducted in autumn 2023 among members of the ESF+ Social Innovation+ Initiative Communities of Practice (CoP) and on interviews with key individuals involved in Zero-LTU and job guarantee initiatives. The report details five ongoing initiatives in Europe including Austria’s Marienthal Job Guarantee Pilot (MAGMA), France’s Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée (TZCLD) as well as the Belgium’s adaptation of the French model, Germany’s Solidaric Basic Income (SBI) project and the Netherland’s Basisbaan. These initiatives share common features such as addressing long-term unemployment through local and regional approaches, building on voluntary participation, offering fair remuneration and flexible working hours. As such, they need to be distinguished from basic income experiments that do not offer jobs, as well as from public works and ‘transitional’ employment schemes that focus on activating and returning participants to the primary labour market, often including the loss of benefits. The initiatives analysed have a minimum duration of three years and have all been implemented within the last five years, with the exception of TZCLD in France, which began in 2016. TZCLD is also the largest in terms of participants and budgets involved (EUR 43 million in 2023 only). Total budgets range from EUR 5 million in Groningen to EUR 176 million in Berlin, and the number of participants from 50 to 3,600. Individual projects typically involve 20-150 participants, with an average cost per participant per annum ranging between EUR 22,000 and 32,000. The majority of participants, both men and women, are between 45 and 60 years old and have been unemployed for three to five years. They typically work part-time (25-35 hours per week) according to their preferences in jobs predominantly provided by social economy enterprises and municipalities. The initiatives mapped demonstrate success in creating tailored jobs by involving local stakeholders and positively impacting economic and social well-being of communities. Participants do indeed achieve financial independence, experience professional development, and report increased self-confidence. Overall high levels of participant satisfaction and low drop-out rates testify to the potential of these initiatives to successfully combat long-term unemployment.

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