CD&V wants suspension of unemployment benefits after three years

CD&V wants suspension of unemployment benefits after three years
CD&V chair Sammy Mahdi. Credit: Belga/Kurt Desplenter

The Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party wants to suspend unemployment benefits for people who, after three years, have not found work, president of the party and former Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi, told VRT on Sunday. The leader is also calling for compulsory Dutch lessons for job seekers.

The comments come as the party president unveiled two concrete proposals concerning the labour market, as part of a general plan announced recently by his party. This reform plan for the Federal Government is set to be presented on Thursday.

The first proposal put forward by Mahdi relates to the falling value of unemployment benefits, which he tends to reinforce. The politician said that he was not opposed to this support being higher, but that the value of support should quickly fall and be cut off entirely after three years.

Mahdi reasons that after this three year period, there is a lower chance for an unemployed person to find work.

The CD&V leader wants a series of discussions to take place with the jobseeker six months before this cut off point. If during this meeting, the jobseeker does not accept the job opportunity put before them, they would then lose their right to employment benefits. Mahdi says that the regions would receive necessary resources to ensure this follow-up.

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Also as part of this new arrangement, Dutch courses, provided by the Flemish employment office (VDAB) would be made compulsory for job seekers. Refusal would also lead to the person being sanctioned.

The level of knowledge of the Dutch language among Brussels and Wallonia residents has been traditionally low. In an attempt to resolve deep-rooted linguistic tensions, Belgium’s French-speaking government has decided that all children from the third year of primary school will soon learn the language, as is the case in Brussels.

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