Federal Jobs Deal bill bypasses regions’ proposals, Brussels Minister charges
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    Federal Jobs Deal bill bypasses regions’ proposals, Brussels Minister charges

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The Federal Government’s Jobs Deal bill incorporates none of the 20 remarks made by Brussels, the region’s minister in charge of Employment, Didier Gosuin, charged on Tuesday. Gosuin, who is Minister of Economic Affairs, Employment and Profession Training in the regional government, added that, contrary to its initial announcement, the Federal Government had not consulted the regions or the social partners.

    “Far from being an interfederal plan, the Federal Jobs Deal has been reduced to a deal between parties,” Gosuin said. None of the seven proposals for fiscal support put forward by the Brussels Region had apparently been included. The rejected measures include tax-free treatment for the 4,000-euro allowance for jobseekers in Brussels who start up an independent activity.

    Also left out is a block-release-training proposal, even though it had been strongly supported by businesses. No tax exemption is proposed in the bill for the allowances that both beneficiaries and employers involved as trainers can receive.

    Gosuin said the only measure taken on board was one proposed by Wallonia: a 350-euro incentive for jobseekers wishing to be trained in an understaffed profession. “But this measure only targets a minority of trainings corresponding to the needs of businesses, particularly SMEs,” the minister commented.

    For its part, the Brussels Government has adopted new measures to help jobseekers find lasting, high-quality jobs by boosting their education levels. These include making block-release training free for all Brussels jobseekers and allocating one million euros for anti-poverty support for one in two block-release trainees.

    According to the Brussels minister, these measures are additional to the body of reforms implemented under the current legislature as part of Strategy 2025, such as allowances granted by the regional employment agency, Activa, that support the recruitment of jobseekers who complete qualifying training programmes.

    Finally, Gosuin said he would continue to advocate for a freeze on the gradual reduction of unemployment allowances for all jobseekers undergoing training.

    “The Federal Government is on the wrong track in putting pressure on jobseekers,” he said. “Rather than continually shouting ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’, it’s ‘qualification, qualification, qualification’ that we should be hearing from the Federal Government.”  

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times