The Youth guarantee initiative aims to support youth employment, ensuring that young people receive an offer of employment, education or training after they finish their studies or become unemployed. One of the first priorities of the new government in Spain on taking office in 2016 was to promote access to, and raise participation in, the national scheme.
On 29 December, major modifications to existing legislation (Act 18/2014) were introduced to the national Youth guarantee system, in line with requirements derived from the EU regulation:
- entry requirements have been simplified and target all people under 30, unemployed and not in education and training the day before the application for enrolment (instead of three months without having received training or 30 days without employment previously required);
- all entities participating in the national youth guarantee system can register candidates in one single database of the scheme, in accordance with the ministry of employment and social security requirements;
- all young people registered as job seekers with the national and regional public employment services, fulfilling the necessary requirements, can be registered in the national youth guarantee system, even retroactively, if they participated or are participating in any of the system actions;
- active involvement of social partners is foreseen at all levels from registering young people in the scheme to participation in monitoring and evaluation.
These measures, agreed with the regions at the sectoral conference on labour affairs, and the consensus reached with the main business and trade union organisations, aim to ensure that 100% of young people registered as unemployed can benefit from the youth guarantee system. At present slightly more than 400 000 young people are registered.
Spain was among the first EU Member States to participate in the Youth guarantee initiative in 2013, but it is not yet delivering the expected results and registration remains low. According to Eurostat, although one in three young people leaving unemployment in the Eurozone is doing so in Spain, youth unemployment continues to be among the highest in Europe (46.5% in 2016 Q3), and remains one of the main challenges to be faced.
EUR 2 360 million from EU funds are allocated to Spain through the 2014-20 operational programme on youth employment (to be implemented until 2023). A further allocation of EUR 900 million, pending approval by the European Parliament, is expected to be added to the operational programme budget.
The order also establishes converting reductions in social security contributions into bonuses, where recruitment benefits young people enrolled in the Youth guarantee system. This will contribute to the sustainability of the social protection system.