The principal function of social policies has traditionally been to guarantee all citizens some level of income. More and more, however, contemporary social policy is also expected to play a leading role in the promotion of employment, notably via policies which assist professional reintegration. For a long time, such policies were reserved for the unemployed, but they are now aimed at broader groups within society: recipients of social assistance or disability insurance payments, older workers, young people who have dropped out of the education system, single parents, etc. The promotion of employment is becoming an ever more central task of social policy. However, several trends in today’s working environment have made this task very difficult, such as the decline in manufacturing industries and the constant striving for efficiency gains. To be effective, policies for professional reintegration must be properly adapted to the socio-economic framework within which they operate. The great challenge is to maintain, and hopefully increase, the number of jobs in a context where labour markets are becoming ever more exclusive.
This seminar is based upon policy experiments in Switzerland and abroad (USA, UK, Netherlands, Scandinavia). It aims to provide participants with state-of-the-art knowledge about policies on employment and professional reintegration and will give them the tools with which to examine the problems inherent in designing and implementing such policies.