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Draft bill to increase minimum age for entering into favorable unemployment scheme

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Elder employees that are being made redundant can step into a favorable unemployment scheme, provided they meet some specific conditions in terms of length of career and minimum age. The scheme ("werkloosheid met bedrijfstoeslag / chômage avec complément d'entreprise") provides for monthly state-paid unemployment benefits and a monthly additional payment by the ex-employer, until the legal retirement age. The scheme has often been used by employers and unions in the framework of mass lay-offs, whereby the additional payment by the ex-employer is sometimes increased, providing the ex-employee a net income sometimes close to the employee's latest salary. Albeit social security charges are due on the monthly payment by the ex-employer, making the scheme less onerous for the public treasury than the payment of unemployment benefits outside the scheme, it is often critisized for keeping elder people in unemployment until retirement. In addition to earlier initiatives increasing required age, length of career and social security contributions, leading to a decrease of people entering the scheme with 34% between 2010 and 2017, a draft bill now increases the minimum age from 56 to 60 for employees being made redundant by companies in economic difficulties or in restructuring, with intended effect as of 1 January 2019. ■
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