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ARGENTINA | 29-02-2024 00:08

Argentina’s government eliminates Potenciar Trabajo job help scheme

Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello issues decree with President Javier Milei eradicating job aid scheme in bid to cut out intermediaries; New dual system set up to replace it.

President Javier Milei’s government has decided to eliminate the Potenciar Trabajo job assistance programme, creating in its place two new plans to continue providing welfare.

The move, announced by the Human Capital Ministry, is an attempt to cut out intermediaries such as the social movements and municipal governments. They previously supplied aid demanding an annual investment of some US$34 million, said the government.

The measure was confirmed by a decree published in the Official Gazette signed by President Javier Milei and Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello. The full details of a new dual scheme to replace it will be made known in the next few days.

The two new programmes to replace Potenciar Trabajo will be named "Volver al Trabajo" and "Acompañamiento Social," said the portfolio.

Pettovello described the move as “a decisive new step towards optimising this Ministry’s strategy of social and labour inclusion.”

She described the Potenciar Trabajo scheme, set up at the end of 2016 under a different name by the Mauricio Macri administration, as “an inefficient plan whereby of the 1.4 million beneficiaries, barely 1.3 percent landed formal employment.” 

 

New programmes

The Human Capital Ministry’s new "Programa Volver al Trabajo" scheme is aimed at the 18-49 age-group, boosting their work skills and improving their employability with the ultimate objective of incorporation into the formal job market. 

The sum to compensate the worker will be the same as Potenciar Trabajo, 78.000 pesos, and the programme will be starting soon, it was divulged.

It will be permitted to be a beneficiary of this programme while holding down a formal registered job earning up to three minimum wages or 540,000 pesos. Potenciar Trabajo limited this compatibility to a single minimum wage, "thus removing any incentive, in practical terms, to look for a formal job," it was indicated.

Beneficiaries of the programme will be allowed to hold down a formal registered job earning up to three minimum wages (540.000 pesos). Potenciar Trabajo limited this compatibility to a single minimum wage, "removing any incentive, in practical terms, to look for a formal job," said Pettovello.

"It is estimated that around 75 percent of Potenciar Trabajo beneficiaries will be transferred to this new programme which, via an integral focus, will provide orientation and assistance for the job hunt with labour exchange services, training, the certification of skills and the promotion of productive enterprises," said the Human Capital Ministry in a release.

The second new scheme, the “Programa de Acompañamiento Social," will be centred on those aged over 50 and the mothers of four or more children, "two groups with particular challenges in terms of inclusion and requiring more integral support,” said Pettovello.

"This initiative will not only provide immediate assistance but will also seek to empower those individuals via accompaniment in the construction of skills and family reinforcement," said the Ministry.

Potenciar Trabajo beneficiaries will be segmented into one of these two programmes, but the Human Capital Ministry explained that those in "Acompañamiento Social" who are interested in joining the other scheme are free to do so.

 

Intermediaries targeted

The beneficiaries of these two new programmes will have direct access without need for additional red tape. 

To avoid so-called “middlemen,” the Human Capital Ministry has taken measures "to assign and distribute the economic benefits directly to the beneficiaries,ensuring that the funds reach those to whom they are destined without any possibility of discretionary manipulation."

Pettovello’s Ministry maintained: "Intermediation has not only been inefficient for promoting the social and labour integration of the beneficiaries on formal job markets but it has also generated a close managerial circuit of control to the benefit of those social organisations entrusted with the administration of the programme, to whom the sum of US$34 million was transferred only in 2023."

According to the official statement, the stability in the number of beneficiaries demonstrates the “incapacity of the programme to generate true opportunities for development” and a way out to formal employment. It argued the only registered departures respond to situations of incompatibility, deaths, being pensioned off and exceeding the age limit.

Along those lines, the Human Capital registers reveal that of a total of 1.4 million participants of Potenciar Trabajo, "barely 1.3 percent managed the transition to formal employment, a percentage making manifest a marked inefficiency in the achievement of the programme’s objectives of employability."

 

– TIMES/PERFIL/NA

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