Unemployment is one of the most serious problems of the Spanish economy, if not the worst. Therefore, one of the government’s priorities is always to create employment and, as far as possible, protect the unemployed. The set of measures adopted by the State related to the labor market are called employment policies.
It is important to distinguish between active employment policies, which are those aimed at creating employment; and passive employment policies, which are aimed at protecting the unemployed.
Active policies boost the creation of employment directly by offering jobs or indirectly through measures that increase the number of jobs in the short or medium term. We can differentiate two major categories of active policies according to where they act:
Active policies directed to the active population:
Promote public employment. It consists in the creation of employment by the different public administrations. For example, increasing the number of places for education officials.
Reduction of the job offer. Sometimes mandatory measures or incentives are put in place for workers to reduce their work time. The aim is to leave gaps in the labor market that allow access for new workers. For example, through early retirement, the reduction of working hours or the prohibition of overtime.
Formation and insertion. These measures are intended to improve the qualification of workers. The progress of society makes jobs increasingly technologically more complex, so it is necessary to recycle workers and offer them the qualification that the labor market demands.
Active policies aimed at the business world:
Promotion of contracting by companies. The public sector can encourage companies to increase their hiring. For example, through subsidies to the creation of employment or through discounts on Social Security contributions.
Self – employment. Every day more value is given to the employee capable of creating his own job. For this reason, administrations subsidize and promote business initiatives. In this sense, chambers of commerce or associations of young entrepreneurs are usually quite effective in promoting self-employment.
Labor market flexibility. It consists of the elimination of obstacles and regulations to hire and fire employees by parts of the companies. It seems increasingly evident that the more flexible a labor market is, the lower its unemployment rate.
Finally, in relation to active employment policies, it is also important to review the role played by employment offices. These serve to advise the unemployed to get employment while acting as intermediaries between companies and workers. In our country we have the Public State Employment Service (SEPE), but also private offices authorized to act as intermediaries, such as placement agencies.