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labour market Older unemployed to get more help from government

keller sutter and berset

Far from retirement age: ministers Keller-Sutter (left) and Berset.

(Keystone / Anthony Anex)

The government has announced measures to help Swiss-based workers have better access to the job market. Plans to help older people out of a job are also outlined.

The measures, outlined on Wednesdayexternal link by interior minister Alain Berset and justice minister Karin Keller-Sutter, are part of efforts to adapt to an ageing workforce and to new rules forcing employers to give priority to Swiss-based workers.

Several ideas tackle the issue of older people who struggle to get back into a job after being laid off. Career advisory services from the age of 40, streamlined certification of skills and training, and a specific program to reinsert older unemployed are planned.

Over 60-year-olds at the end of their unemployment insurance rights will also gain limited access to training programmes, the ministers said.

A new “transition grant” to cover the basic needs of over-60-year-olds who have exhausted their unemployment insurance is also planned. The scheme, which will be drafted by the interior ministry before being put to consultation, will be available to those who have worked (and paid taxes) for at least 20 years, and who do not own wealth or assets over CHF100,000 ($99,107).

The payments would be capped at a maximum of CHF58,350 per year for a single person. According to the government’s estimates, some 1,600 people would have qualified for such a grant in 2018; the total cost would have been CHF95 million.

Local workers first

In order to prevent employers being forced to seek skilled workers outside Switzerland, several ideas also aim to improve the chances of foreign workers already here.

An integration programme that aims to prepare young refugees for Swiss jobs will also be extended to non-asylum seeker youths arriving in Switzerland; while a pilot project aiming to entice employers to take on refugees or asylum-seeker workers will be financed to the tune of CHF11.4 million over the next three years.

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Keystone-SDA/dos

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