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In December 2013, under the Council of the European Union’s Recommendation for a Youth Guarantee aimed at young people in a NEET situation, with or under 25 years, the Portuguese Government decided to create the National Plan for the Implementation of a Youth Guarantee (PNI-GJ), comprising specific axes of intervention, purposes and measures.
The Portuguese Government acknowledged that the Youth Guarantee in Portugal should be extended to young people with an age up to and including 29 years, given the extension and complexity of the transitional paths between education, work and adult life in the Portuguese social and economic context.
The Youth Guarantee programme has been included in the active employment policies foreseen in the Constitutional Government Programme, and in articulation with social partners.
The execution of the National Plan for the Implementation of a Youth Guarantee (PNI-GJ) requires a coordinated inter-ministerial response that ensures appropriate multidimensional responses, including the involvement of a network of public education and training providers, reporting to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security and other ministries that have their own training structures, accessible to the external public, under the National Qualifications System.
There are several entities involved in the Youth Guarantee, with competencies in the fields of education, training, labour, social security and youth, which are considered core partners.
The implementation of the Youth Guarantee also counts on the participation of other strategic and nuclear partners to work with young people.
For the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, the participation of other strategic partners working with young people is also essential.
Much of the work with inactive youth is done at the local level, with de cooperation between a set of partners.
The local YG network integrates a multiplicity of partners that, in the context of the stabilized methodology for the treatment of young NEET, develop a set of activities, which include:
Identification and registration of NEET;
Evaluation and diagnosis of young people in order to define the interventions they may need;
Implementation of these interventions (by one of the partners or in articulation with other partners);
Support to the definition of the insertion path that seems more adjusted to the profile and situation of the youngster;
Referral to entities that ensure an adequate response - education, training or employment.
The design of the Portuguese YG was grounded on the expectation that young people would access available services and programs, mainly through registration with PES offices and through the YG web portal. However, the difficulty to attract disengaged young people, that is, those who are unemployed and inactive (non-students) and not registered with PES, consists on a YG additional challenge: reaching out, engage and provide tailored support to young people who are unemployed and inactive and not registered with PES.
The composition of the networks of partners for the implementation of the outreach strategy for non-registered unemployed and inactive young people includes 4 levels of intervention:
Signaling and registration. This network is open to all organizations that can contribute to the identification, engagement and referral of young people at local level. It includes non-governmental organizations, centers for social work, parish councils and youth associations.
Assessment, guidance and referral. This network includes those organizations that have been integrated in the Youth Guarantee scheme since the very beginning, namely the IEFP local offices, the Centros Qualifica and GIPs.
Implementation. This network includes the partners that deliver the labour market reintegration measures of the Youth Guarantee and provide young people with offers of education, employment, traineeship and apprenticeship.
Coordination. This role, assigned to IEFP, include the coordination across the various networks and the management of the IT platform that collects monitoring information on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
A wide range of measures for the integration of young people in the Portuguese labour market are developed under the context of the Youth Guarantee programme. These measures are grouped below into the YG pathways that young people (15-29) neither in employment nor in education or training may take:
Further education (and training): these programmes include vocational training and apprenticeship courses organized by IEFP, as well as short higher education programmes (leading to ISCED Level 5 qualifications) and second chance programmes delivered by higher education institutions.
Traineeship: this pathway encompasses periods of learning and work experience organized by IEFP in private enterprises; traineeships in local and central public administration; traineeships in Portuguese Embassies and Consulates abroad; and work experience schemes organized in international organizations and enterprises managed.
Employment: this pathway provides incentives to employers to recruit young workers and assistance to find job opportunities in Portugal and abroad, implemented by IEFP as well as a number of entrepreneurship development and self-employment programmes organized by IEFP and others organisations.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the difficult start in the labour market of young people and Portugal is aligned with the EU recovery plan for young people – A Bridge to Jobs: Reinforcing the Youth Guarantee.
In response to the situation generated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security developed ATIVAR.PT - Reinforced Support Program for Employment and Professional Training, registered by the Government in the Economic and Social Stabilization Programme (Resolution of the Council of Ministers n. 41/2020, 6th june, with the objective of ensuring the maintenance of employment and the recovery progressive economic activity. It targets the unemployed, with a special focus on new unemployed. The strengthening of training policies includes measures to increase specific skills, like digital and specific audiences like young people.
In 2020, ATIVAR.PT - Reinforced Support Program for Employment and Professional Training was designed to guarantee an adequate and quick response from active policy, with broadband support programs for hiring and internships, in conjunction with programs for specific sectors and audiences (Decree 207/2020).
Thus, in line with the commitments made in the Economic and Social Stabilization Programme, the measure “Incentivo ATIVAR.PT” is created, a support for hiring unemployed people aimed at creating sustainable jobs and promoting the employability of the most vulnerable audiences, away from the labor market. Preserving and reinforcing the guidelines of its precedent, this support now introduces reinforced incentives to stimulate the hiring of the least employable publics, while providing a set of transitional mechanisms for responding to the new unemployed and adapting to the exceptional context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Financial support given to employers (profit and non-profit private entities) that celebrate permanent labour contracts or fixed-term labour contracts (for a minimum period of 12 months), full or part time, with an unemployed registered with a Job Centre, including people aged 29 or less, for at least 2 consecutive months.
The measure also includes a prize for conversion. If the entity then converts a term contract to a permanent one receives a bonus.
This is not a measure exclusively developed for young people, but youth is the main target public.
The measures to support entrepreneurship for young people with a business idea and who wish to start a small scale business are:
- Youth Investment (Investe Jovem) (see sub-chapter 3.9 – Start Up Funding for Young Entrepreneurs);
- Support to Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment (see sub-chapter 3.9 – Start Up Funding for Young Entrepreneurs);
- Empreende Já – Business Perception and Management Network (see sub-chapter 3.9 – Start Up Funding for Young Entrepreneurs);
- Youth COOP (COOP Jovem) (see sub-chapter 3.9 – Start Up Funding for Young Entrepreneurs).
The Youth Guarantee supports international mobility in Europe through the EURES Network:
- Your first EURES job (see sub-chapter 3.7 – Cross-Border Mobility in Employment, Entrepreneurship and Vocational Opportunities)
In compliance with the outreach strategy for the Youth Guarantee, a Youth Guarantee Platform (plus Facebook, Google and Twitter) was set up, making it possible to pre-register and request information, exchange information between partners and advertising employment/entrepreneurship/traineeship opportunities. This YG platform is being modernised and upgraded and there are also plans to develop an APP.
There are also plans for sessions to publicise the Youth Guarantee among partners and promoters, continuing the work that is being developed.
The different measures included in the Youth Guarantee programme are also presented and disseminated in the online portal of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, PI, and disseminated in its regional offices and youth information centres – Ponto JA Stores, throughout the country.
Mobility in Labour market
Support Measure for Geographic Mobility in Labour Market
The Support Measure for Geographic Mobility in the Labour Market, promoted by IEFP, regulates incentives for geographical mobility of human resources in the labour market, in order to promote these resources and respond to job offers, as well as making an occupational and geographical redistribution of the work force.
The beneficiaries of the Youth Investment programme (Investe Jovem) and the Support to Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment programme can accumulate the incentives and supports of each respective programme and the supports included in the Support Measure for Geographic Mobility in the Labour Market.
Supports to hiring
The IEFP, I.P., and the Institute of Social Security, PI (ISS, I.P.), provide support to hiring unemployed citizens and disadvantaged groups in the labour market.
Exemption from payment of Social Security contributions
Employers may benefit from an exemption from payment of their share of contributions if they hire young people looking for their first job.
Hiring Support Measure
In 2020, ATIVAR.PT - Reinforced Support Program for Employment and Professional Training» was designed to guarantee an adequate and quick response from active policy, with broadband support programs for hiring and internships, in conjunction with programs for specific sectors and audiences (Portaria 207/2020).
Thus, in line with the commitments made in the Economic and Social Stabilization Program, the measure “Incentivo ATIVAR.PT” is created, a support for hiring unemployed people aimed at creating sustainable jobs and promoting the employability of the most vulnerable audiences. away from the labor market. Preserving and reinforcing the guidelines of its precedent, this support now introduces reinforced incentives to stimulate the hiring of the least employable publics, while providing a set of transitional mechanisms for responding to the new unemployed and adapting to the exceptional context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Student Worker Statute
Employees that are simultaneously working and studying have the rights and duties established in the Student Worker Statute, regulated by the Labour Code (article 89th). This statute foresees benefits in terms of working hours, absence of service and absence at work to complete assessment exams.
Promotion of Gender Equality in Labour Market
In order to promote gender equality in the labour market, hiring supports have a majoration in cases of recruitment of unemployed persons from the underrepresented gender in a particular profession, that is, the gender in which the representation is less than 33.3%.
Among others, the measure’s objective is to encourage unemployed young people to choose a particular profession or function, according to their vocation, without constraints motivated by gender stereotypes.
Social Support for parents (fahers and mothers) who study
It defines social and school support measures for parents (fathers and mothers) who study, whose priority purpose is combating school dropout and failure, as well as promoting the education of young people.
The Youth Employment Initiative, under the scope of the Social Inclusion and Employment Operational Programme (PO ISE), aims to the allocation of funds to reinforce and accelerate measures defined in December 2012, in the context of the Youth Employment Package, and to implement the Youth Guarantee mechanisms in different fields of action.
The funding foreseen for Portugal is €321,544,338, financed by the European Social Fund, and €28,371,559 as a national counterpart, this corresponding to 15% of PO ISE's budget (Social Inclusion and Employment Operational Programme).
The goals for 2018 are: 135,500 participants in a NEET situation attending qualification/education sessions; 43,100 Participants in a NEET situation that benefit from vocational/professional internships and 32,800 Participants in a NEET situation that benefit from employment support.
At European Level
In March 2016, one of the conclusions of the European Commission Report – Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, that assesses the implementation of the Youth Guarantee programme in Portugal, highlighted the need to improve the monitoring system and the follow-up of participants, and the future monitoring of results from activities developed under the Youth Guarantee.
At National Level
Nationally, the Youth Guarantee is assessed and monitored by the institution that coordinates its implementation, the IEFP, I.P., which has at its disposal monitoring and assessment tools for its performance, through effectiveness, efficiency and quality indicators.
The IEFP, I.P., as a public entity, is also evaluated in the Assessment and Accountability Framework (QUAR), that presents the objectives, performance indicators, achieved results, available resources and final evaluation of the service's performance.
All public entities involved as core partners in the implementation of measures from the Youth Guarantee programme in different intervention areas – employment, education, internships and training – are also monitored and evaluated in its annual Assessment and Accountability Framework (QUAR). In the performance assessment of each service, the measures incorporated in the Youth Guarantee programme are also evaluated.
Each measure implemented under the Youth Guarantee has monitoring, assessment and control instruments and procedures, in accordance with the respective regulations and responsibility of the promoting and partnering entities.
The Implementation Plan for the Youth Guarantee, establishes a Coordination and Monitoring Commission, headed by the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security and with the participation of various public and private entities at a national and regional level, in the field of employment and education.
Monitoring and evaluation of Youth Guarantee The implementation of measures incorporated in the Youth Guarantee are also monitored and evaluated under the regulation of the European Union’s (EU) European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for the programming period of 2014-2020 ((EU) Regulation no. 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17th December 2013), through the regulations of the respective Operational Plans of Portugal 2020.
- Evaluation of the implementation, effectiveness and efficiency of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) (2018);
- Evaluation of the impact of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) (ongoing).
Financially, an audit and the control of IGF – Finance General Inspection, which is the only auditing authority for the European Social Fund, are to be expected.