The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Communes could call on the long-term unemployed

12:52 08/10/2013

Senator Rik Daems wants the benefits granted to the long-term unemployed to be paid out in return for mandatory community service. Any person who has not worked for a year should report one day a week to their town hall to help with simple administrative tasks or with the maintenance of public parks, he argues in De Morgen . "There are currently 559,000 unemployed people in Belgium, 417,000 of which are on benefits. This costs society €8.9bn, or 25% of Belgium’s personal income, in exchange for which they are required to do nothing." According to Daems’s Flemish Liberal party (Open VLD), society fails to involve the long-term unemployed; Daems therefore advocates a mandatory day of community service which could help people build social contacts, to empower them and maybe even find a job. Those who have not worked for at least two years could even be made to do two days’ community service per week, he argues. "The idea is not to intimidate the long-term unemployed. But they could do society a favour, which would also be a gesture of solidarity," Daems says, adding that his proposal would not apply to the sick or the disabled. Daems had already floated the idea in 2006, but it had received a lukewarm welcome from his own party. 

Written by The Bulletin



Great idea! Can't see a downside to it really

Oct 8, 2013 13:22

About time something is asked in return.

Oct 8, 2013 14:22

In return for being humiliated, discriminated and rejected during a ten-year search for gainful employment i am now supposed to show solidarity with these people and work for free?!? omdb.

Oct 8, 2013 18:53
Mick Bott

If the town hall has enough work to employ someone, it should do so and pay him a living wage. If it doesn't have enough work to employ someone, this idea won't work anyway. Looks like cheap politicking Mr Daems, cheap politicking.

Oct 8, 2013 19:53

Ten year search for gainful employment?!

Mate! I have a 30 percent disability granted by the Belgian state, I am over 50, have limited language skills and from the moment I persuaded my doctor to write a note to allow me back to work, I took less that 6 weeks to find a job!

And I pay for you!?

But you would not take my job, eh? It involves getting up at 5AM and not much more money than your unemployment benefits, partly because of the tax I have to pay for your ten years unemployment.

It is time the working population of this country got angry about the parasites who choose to live an alternative lifestyle from the hard work of others. The man is right, why are people on benefits for YEARS, often perfectly able and multilingual, allowed to live off others for years while being required to do nothing!

And two days after two years? Full time job searching, community work of training from day ONE!

Oct 8, 2013 21:09