Recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, has highlighted the potential of job guarantee programmes – whereby the government guarantees a decent job to anyone willing and able to work – in addressing the challenges of poverty and unemployment worldwide.  

In the report titled “The employment guarantee as a tool in the fight against poverty,” the Rapporteur points out that a job guarantee could not only provide economic stability but also improve social inclusion and working conditions of formal and informal workers.  

In fact, job guarantee programmes, could play a pivotal role in the reduction of long-term unemployment, in-work poverty and inequalities. Moreover, integrating the most disadvantaged groups in the labour market can empower individuals and communities and help them foster their self-confidence and social inclusion.  

A sizable portion of the global labour force, around 60%, works in the informal sector, often facing insecure jobs with indecent working conditions and low pay, with limited or no access to social protection and employment rights. Thus, job guarantee programmes have the potential to improve working conditions by providing a safety net that lifts individuals out of poverty, by strengthening the bargaining power of workers and providing them with skill-building training.  

The Rapporteur highlights that job guarantee programmes can contribute to: 

  • Reducing unemployment and poverty rates 
  • Increasing social protection 
  • Providing essential goods and services that are undersupplied by the markets
  • Boosting local economies 
  • Encouraging civic participation and local democracy 

In summary, Mr De Shutter states that the introduction of job guarantee programmes could be an essential element of the “just transition” to a green economy. These programmes can meet societal needs by providing undersupplied services to the population, especially in the post-recovery era. Participants of these programmes can gain experience, income security and skills development, making voluntary participation at the local level a meaningful contribution to societal well-being.  

Eurodiaconia welcomes this report and recognizes the potential of a job guarantee to alleviate poverty and promote labour and social inclusion. To learn more about our members’ work on access to employment, click here!