'Welfare-to-work' plan faces changes

On Tuesday, the Bank of Israel reiterated its support for the continuation of the program - with adjustments - as an important process to reduce government expenditure.

By SHARON WROBEL
February 21, 2007 07:13
1 minute read.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday he would enforce legislation to cancel the controversial "welfare-to-work" plan Mehalev, widely known as the Wisconsin Plan, and to replace it by a new pilot program for young adults until the age of 45. In the meantime, the government agreed this month to set up an interministerial committee headed by the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ra'anan Dinur, to help draft drastic changes to the Wisconsin Plan. Earlier on Tuesday, the Bank of Israel reiterated its support for the continuation of the program - with adjustments - as an important process to reduce government expenditure. "The program should be continued and expanded nationwide, at the same time correcting the defects by matching the program to the individual, improving the incentives model and enhancing supervision and control, while also implementing the recommended changes," the central bank said in a statement. The bank placed importance on the continuation of the program as a process, which would reduce dependence on income support payments and thus lower the government's expenditure on those payments. The Bank of Israel noted that in its first year of operation the Mehalev program succeeded in placing in employment many participants who were income support recipients, but that the program encountered several problems, some reflecting the learning process and gaining of experience, in the trial period.


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