What is the Job Guarantee?
What it is
1. What is the job guarantee?
The job guarantee is a voluntary public employment program that provides work opportunities with decent wages and benefits to any working-age person who is ready, willing, and able to work. This demand-driven direct job creation program is nationally-funded, locally administered, and addresses social and environmental needs.
2. What are the key features of the job guarantee proposal?
- Permanent program with a demand-driven access. The job guarantee is a new and inclusive program that provides employment opportunities irrespective of the economic cycle to all job seekers on the principle that no one is unemployable. Its demand driven design ensures that the program acts as an economic stabilizer.
- Direct net new job creation. The program closes the jobs gap in the economy by creating new employment opportunities directly. It does not displace or subsidize existing public or private sector workers.
- Centrally funded and locally administered. The program is funded by the central fiscal authority. It is administered by member states, in conjunction with municipalities, localities, and other stakeholders who create local public service jobs that address local needs.
- Public money for the public good. Employment opportunities are created in the public service sector to address areas of social and environmental concern. It is not a subsidy for private sector hiring.
- Voluntary and non-punitive. The job guarantee is “fair work” not “workfare.” Participation in the job guarantee is strictly voluntary. No person shall lose existing social benefits if they do not participate in the program.
- Productivity-enhancing and empowering. The program provides training, education, credentialing, as well as job placement and other assistance with transitioning to different employment opportunities.
- An equity-driven care economy. The job guarantee offers fair and open access to employment to all. It provides support services to help remove barriers to access. It prioritizes the needs of people, communities, and the environment.
- Decent wages for decent work. The job guarantee establishes a floor to wages and benefits that would support a dignified standard of living. It provides safe and healthy working conditions and full worker rights.
- Preventative and stabilizing. The program protects the economy from recessions, external shocks or structural shifts. It maintains full employment and family incomes and invests in human capital and workforce development. It prevents jobless recoveries and the social and economic costs of mass unemployment and poverty.
- Bottom-up design. The job guarantee fosters broad engagement and participation from local communities, allowing them to propose, create, and manage projects. It creates tangible community benefits, improves conditions in disinvested urban and rural communities, strengthens environmental health and sustainability, and invests in cultural and artistic assets.
3. What are the core principles of the job guarantee proposal?
- No one is unemployable
- Unemployment should not be used as a policy tool
- Everyone who wants a job should have access to decent work
- There is an abundant and unfilled need for socially-useful work
- Financing the JG is not an obstacle.
4. What are the essential benefits of the job guarantee?
- True full employment – everyone who wants work can have it on demand
- A labor standard for the entire economy –the job guarantee sets a minimum standard for wages, benefits, and workplace conditions across the economy
- An alternative to the NAIRU – it is a stabilizing tool that fights inflation without causing unemployment
- Anti-cyclical – the program naturally expands in times of recession and shrinks in periods of strong economic growth
- Anti-inflationary – It functions anti-cyclically, increases both supply and demand, and reduces costs (real and financial) associated with unemployment
- Anti-poverty – As the UN report on the employment guarantee outlines, increasing labor incomes is key to reducing poverty levels. Unemployment is a primary contributor to poverty—the job guarantee provides the work and income people need on demand.
- Social inclusion and civic participation – The job guarantee connects people with their communities through socially beneficial projects
- Economic security – A robust approach to economic security includes both income security and employment security. The job guarantee is the assurance that an employment safetynet is always available to those who need work.
- Enfranchising the most vulnerable and excluded – Unemployment is concentrated among the most vulnerable (youth, minorities, women, and people with disabilities). The job guarantee recognizes their capacity and empowers them through participation.
- Economic stability – The job guarantee dampens the effects of and shortens recessions
- Strengthening local resilience – The program itself strengthens community bonds and the projects undertaken help prepare communities for economic and climatic changes
- Filling needs gaps – The job guarantee projects help fill the gaps in public needs (care, transportation, and infrastructure)
- Easier transition to other forms of employment – The job guarantee helps lift people out of unemployment and gives them the work experience, training, and credentialing to transition to alternative employment opportunities
What it is not
5. Is the job guarantee a substitute for other fiscal or monetary policies?
No (See questions 11, 12 and 13). The job guarantee is designed to address the problems of unemployment and precarious employment. It is a powerful macroeconomic policy in its own right. It obviates the need to maintain an unemployment buffer stock via fiscal or monetary fine-tuning and replaces it with an employment buffer stock policy.
Other fiscal or monetary policies are required for different policy objectives, such as strategic investments, better income distribution, comprehensive inflation management, and financial stability.
6. Is the job guarantee a replacement for existing income support policies, entitlements, or safety nets?
A job guarantee would expand the social safety net by expanding access to decent work without replacing other social insurance programs. With a job guarantee in place, people who are unemployed would have the choice of accessing unemployment insurance or taking a job guarantee job. By increasing workers’ incomes, a job guarantee reduces demand for food stamps, housing assistance, and other safety net programs without reducing access to those benefits on an individual basis.
7. How is the job guarantee different from workfare?
The program is based on the principle of “fair work”, not “workfare” (Rose, 1995). The job guarantee does not require people to work to receive government benefits and is an alternative to existing workfare programs. The job guarantee is “fair work” in that it provides a fair opportunity to everyone to secure decent, well-paid employment and involves communities and participants in the design and management of the program.
The job guarantee not only provides the necessary employment safetynet, it strengthens labor markets and improves macroeconomic stability. The job guarantee meets the call of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights by recognizing that equal access to decent work is a fundamental human right and a precondition to social and economic justice.
Rose, Nancy. (1995). Workfare or Fair Work: Women, Welfare, and Government Work Programs. Book. Rutgers University Press.
Why implement a Job Guarantee?
Why a JG?
8. Why is a job guarantee needed?
The job guarantee is a robust, direct job creation approach which closes the existing jobs gap by providing decent employment on demand. While the private sector creates the majority of employment opportunities, it is neither its mission nor its responsibility to provide jobs for all. Conventional fiscal and monetary policies have failed to fill the jobs gap and full employment has lost its meaning.
Furthermore, in the current policy framework, unemployment is used for economic and price stabilization, which in turn creates structural precarity, economic insecurity, and social instability. The job guarantee is an alternative to the conventional approach that produces and accepts the large economic, social and political costs of unemployment. It is a landmark policy innovation, achieving the goals of full employment, economic stability, and social inclusion.
The JG’s innovative features
9. Why is the job guarantee wage the effective minimum wage and labor standard for the economy?
The job guarantee is a “public option for work” open to all individuals regardless of their income or labor market status. As a result, the work and pay conditions offered in the job guarantee will become the effective standard for the entire economy. There is some empirical evidence that illustrates this effect (Tcherneva, 2012).
Given that the job guarantee offers essential benefits not available to all private sector workers (e.g., guaranteed health insurance in the US), some people may be drawn to the program. To retain them, private firms will need to match not just the pay but also the benefits and working conditions that the job guarantee establishes. This ‘disruptive’ aspect of the job guarantee is designed to incentivize firms to raise wages, improve working conditions, and offer more stable employment. The implementation of the job guarantee can be phased in gradually to allow sufficient time for firms to adapt.
Tcherneva, Pavlina R. 2012. “Beyond Full Employment: The Employer of Last Resort as an Institution for Change”, Working Paper #732, Levy Economics Institute, Annandale-on-Hudson, September.
10. Why is the job guarantee critical to economic stabilization and poverty alleviation?
- Prioritizing economic security: The job guarantee provides economic security for those that need it the most by providing a dignified living wage floor for all workers. Economic security enables working families to plan and invest in their futures and should not be left up to the volatility of the market.
- Proactive, not reactive: During a typical economic downturn, if policymakers decide on an economic stimulus package, it always arrives too late. By contrast, the job guarantee stops unemployment from spiraling out of control because it provides employment opportunities as soon as they are needed.
- Poverty alleviation: The job guarantee program is an employment-centered poverty alleviation approach. Poverty is not simply an absence of income, it is also a lack of access to decent work and social resources. The job guarantee provides them.
11. Why is the job guarantee a superior countercyclical stabilizer?
All public policies which aim to tackle economic insecurity behave countercyclically—expanding with need and shrinking when economic conditions improve. Jobs are invariably the casualty of economic recessions and crises like COVID or climate change. With the job guarantee in place, when companies lay off workers they can transition directly to the job guarantee.
Without the job guarantee, people curb their spending in recessions, creating a ripple effect that results in additional unemployment. The job guarantee interrupts this vicious cycle. When private employment shrinks and workers are laid off, they can transition into the job guarantee. As the economy begins to recover, workers can transition to other, better-paying employment opportunities.
12. Why is the job guarantee a better anti-inflationary policy than the NAIRU?
Currently, Central Banks around the world use unemployment to control inflation. The non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) is the benchmark policy guide for deciding when to step on the brakes and slow down economic growth. If, for example, the Federal Reserve deems that the pool of the unemployed has shrunk to “undesirable” levels, it raises interest rates with the intent to reduce purchasing power, increase unemployment, and hopefully remove inflationary pressures.
By contrast the job guarantee expands in recessions (deflationary periods) and contracts in expansions (inflationary periods), responding counter-cyclically to changes in aggregate demand by establishing an above-poverty wage floor, providing jobs for all who need them, producing socially useful output, and reducing the outsized costs of unemployment.
13. Does the job guarantee cause inflation?
No. The job guarantee is an inflation-fighting policy. It stabilizes one key price in the economy: the basic wage. Raising the wage floor is expected to produce an adjustment in the private sector and eliminate poverty wages but would not create a continuous increase in the price level (i.e. inflation). The job guarantee program’s price stabilizing features include:
- It functions anti-cyclically;
- It increases both supply and demand;
- It reduces costs (real and financial) associated with unemployment.
Although the job guarantee workforce can be directed to addressing supply-side bottlenecks that produce price pressures, it is not a cure-all for all inflationary concerns. There are many sources of inflation and the job guarantee is not designed to mitigate them all. Additional fiscal and monetary policies would be necessary.
14. Would the job guarantee help enfranchise vulnerable populations?
Unemployment is a key mechanism of economic and social exclusion for women, people with disabilities, youth, and other vulnerable groups. This is true around the world and persists in different economic contexts. In the case of those who are responsible for the unpaid care of children and people with disabilities, a job guarantee can either compensate them or socialize the work by expanding access to professionalized care. Employment helps empower vulnerable communities as stakeholders in their communities.
15. Why not provide job training instead?
While essential, job training and credentialing programs do not create the missing jobs people need. In times of chronic job shortage, training programs only shuffle people in and out of existing jobs in the short term with the hope of greater employment opportunities down the road. Unemployment itself (especially long term unemployment) is a major barrier to reemployment. The job guarantee provides both employment opportunities and on-the-job training, experience, and skill building. For those who are just entering the workforce, the job guarantee offers guaranteed access to transitional employment.
16. Isn’t cash assistance (like unemployment insurance) enough?
Work is an essential source of meaning in peoples’ lives and unemployment is associated with many negative health and social consequences. Cash alone cannot address them. Job guarantee projects integrate workers into their communities, creating value and positive change in the process. Even countries with generous unemployment insurance and cash assistance programs suffer the high social costs of involuntary unemployment and are seeking ways to tackle it (see France and Austria (*See the program map*)
17. Wouldn’t a universal basic income (UBI) achieve the same goals of a job guarantee?
A comprehensive strategy for economic security requires a two pronged approach: employment security and income support. The job guarantee provides income, decent work, and public goods and services to the community.
UBI is an income program that does not directly provide the employment opportunities that people seek. UBI experiments indicate that income grant recipients still want decent employment. On the other hand, income is just one and often not the leading reason why people wish to work (see pages 13-14).
While UBI experiments have shown some positive effect on poor households, in and of itself, it does not supply the real resources (housing, childcare, transportation) that they need to access with the extra income. By contrast, the job guarantee is designed in part to fill those needs gaps directly. Finally, UBI lacks the anti-cyclical and price stabilization features of the job guarantee.
An array of public policies including income support and a voluntary job guarantee are needed to provide comprehensive economic security.
18. Why not simply add work requirements to existing benefits programs (like TANF, SNAP, or, as has been recently proposed, Medicaid in the US)?
The job guarantee is fair work, not workfare. Requiring work to receive benefits goes against the job guarantee principle of voluntary choice of employment.
Requiring people to work for their benefits in an economy that uses unemployment as a policy tool (i.e. NAIRU) is cruel and only serves the purpose of denying essential benefits, not of creating more employment. It is also at odds with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
An array of public policies including a voluntary job guarantee are needed to provide comprehensive economic security.
19. Why is the job guarantee integral to the #DemocratizingWork manifesto?
Work in the Democratizing Work Manifesto is broadly conceived. It encompasses the human economic activities that secure the resources and social status of individuals, families, and communities. Over time, the nature of paid work has changed, often leading to demoralizing conditions and economic precarity. The existence of involuntary unemployment has contributed to these developments and further undermined the foundations of postwar labor relations, the social contract, and workplace solidarity.
The job guarantee recognizes that access to work is a basic human right and seeks to democratize it in the public and private domains by creating a robust labor standard for workers across the economy. As a public option for work, the job guarantee establishes the minimum standard for wages, benefits and working conditions, leveling the playing field in the labor market, fighting poverty, and reducing precarity.
A job guarantee is a pivotal policy in strengthening democratic institutions and empowering people to pursue socially and environmentally valuable work in their communities.
How can the Job Guarantee be put into practice?
How is it paid for?
20. Who will pay for the program?
The program will be nationally-funded but locally administered. Programs from around the world demonstrate that only national governments have the capacity to design and allocate countercyclical budgets that fluctuate with changes in unemployment, which are essential for the job guarantee program’s success.
21. How much will the job guarantee program cost?
The cost of the job guarantee must be evaluated against the ongoing costs of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment is expensive: towns, cities, and countries already directly and indirectly pay these costs. Workers who are out of a job lose more than a paycheck: socially useful employment gives people purpose and a place in their communities. The cost of unemployment can be calculated in monetary terms, but more significant are the real costs: from the foregone output to the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. The job guarantee will reduce these costs while making critical investments.
Recent crises like the Great Financial Crisis and COVID-19 have taught us a vital policy lesson: finance is abundant and readily available for domestic policy priorities. Countries have deployed their financing institutions to address these challenges. Those with monetary sovereignty have far more fiscal space to address them, while others face different degrees of financial constraint. What is true is that the latter still bear the brunt of the costs of unemployment and the direct employment approach offers a viable alternative.
In monetary terms, the costs of even large scale real-world programs have been quite manageable. For example India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) peaked at 0.5% of GDP in 2020-2021 (Drèze, 2022). Trinidad and Tobago’s Unemployment Relief Program peaked at 0.45% of GDP in 2015 (UN ECLAC, 2023). Argentina’s Plan Jefes y Jefas cost 1% of GDP in 2001 and 2002 in the depths of an economic crisis (Kostzer, 2008).
However, none of these programs provide universal access to all jobseekers. A recent study modeled a large-scale and universal Public Service Employment program for the US and placed the costs between 0.5-2.5% of GDP (Wray, Dantas, Fullwiler et al. 2018). Notably, the study does not account for all savings that would result from reducing the real and financial costs of unemployment.
As the 2023 UN report on the Employment Guarantee concludes, “Considering the important benefits to society of tackling unemployment and of providing goods and services undersupplied by the market, financing from general taxation would be fully justified” (Schutter).
Drèze, Jean. (April 1, 2022). “Employment Guarantee in Action: Insights from India”. Economic Democracy Initiative Note.
Daniel Kostzer. (2008). “Argentina: a case study on the Plan Jefes y Jefas de Hogar Desocupados, or the employment road to economic recovery“. Working Paper No. 534. Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. p. 18.
Schutter, Olivier de. (April 18, 2023). “The employment guarantee as a tool in the fight against poverty: report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter“. Geneva. A/HRC/53/33.
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Non-Contributory. “Unemployment Relief Programme (2010-)”. Social Protection Programmes Database website.
Wray, et al. (2018). Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment. Levy Economics Institute.
22. What is the connection between the job guarantee and the Modern Money approach (MMT)?
While job guarantee proposals predate the Modern Money approach, the latter has stressed an important structural link between money and paid work in a money-using economy. MMT has made the case that full employment and price stability are not policy trade-offs but can be accomplished simultaneously by governments with the very same powers they use to administer the monetary system (Tcherneva 2022). MMT also analyzes the technical and institutional factors that underpin the spectrum of monetary sovereignty, which enable or constrain the capacity of the state to execute stabilization policy. This line of research suggests that a more disciplined fiscal approach to achieve landmark public policy objectives such as true full employment, based on automatic stabilizers is possible.
Tchrneva, Pavlina R. (2022) : https://tools.bard.edu/wwwmedia/resources/files/985/WP%2002%20Tcherneva%20The%20Job%20Guarantee-%20MMT’s%20Proposal%20for%20Full%20Employment%20and%20Price%20Stability.pdf
23. How much will a job guarantee job pay?
The proposed job guarantee wage would secure a decent living wage floor, combined with basic benefits such as healthcare, paid leave, and vacation. The wage and benefits would, of course, depend upon the country implementing a job guarantee. The job guarantee would also provide supportive services, such as child care and transportation assistance, to ensure equal access to employment opportunities in the program.
How is it run?
24. Who will administer the program?
The program is nationally funded but is locally administered and managed by states, municipalities, one-stop job centers, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurial ventures.
The goal is to match individual community needs with unemployed resources. A bottom-up approach of management and administration combined with participatory decision-making and budgeting will enhance program effectiveness.
25. What types of jobs will the job guarantee workers do?
The program prioritizes social, economic, and environmental needs. Thus, the job guarantee can be central in greening the economy by prioritizing disaster prevention and preparedness, community rehabilitation and renewal, and food desert relief, to name a few areas of need.
The job guarantee’s scope is larger than the climate emergency or infrastructure needs. It aims to support artists, offer youth apprenticeship programs, expand child and elderly care, and create special needs programs for veterans, at-risk youth, and former inmates.
In practice, job guarantee-like programs have been designed around the needs of people and communities. See the job guarantee world map and program specific pages for real world examples of job guarantee projects. In many cases, the projects are managed and designed by the participants themselves.
26. Where will the jobs be?
The job guarantee creates jobs that are in close proximity to the unemployed. A targeted approach means that the greatest number of employment opportunities will be created in the areas with highest unemployment rates. It will also ensure that, even when the overall economy is approaching full employment, distressed areas which experience elevated levels of unemployment are not left behind.
27. How many people will the job guarantee program employ?
Program size will vary by country and will depend on the level of involuntary unemployment. Because the program is demand driven, it will also fluctuate with the changes in economic activity and employment trends in the private sector.
How do you manage such a large program?
28. Does the government have the capacity to manage such a large workforce?
World experience suggests that even less-developed nations have the capacity to manage large-scale programs and, in many cases, those programs are run by local stakeholders. See the India, South Africa, and Argentina country pages which provide examples of how this can be accomplished. View our world map of programs. View our world map of programs.
29. Can the job guarantee really create jobs quickly for all?
Yes, experience around the world indicates that Public Service Employment programs can be implemented without delay. The New Deal programs in the US as well as the large-scale Plan Jefes y Jefas program in Argentina were up and running in several months, while India’s MGNREGA relies on local panchayats (organs of village self-government) to offer work within 15 days of an application as prescribed by law. Existing delays with job reaction in India are due to the ongoing and significant underfunding of the program, rather than administrative capacity (Ghosh, 2015).
Accommodating changes in hiring is not a unique challenge for the job guarantee. Indeed, the private, nonprofit, and public sectors always deal with workforce fluctuations. The job guarantee is designed as a preparedness response to joblessness with pre-approved, shelved projects and agencies that could execute them should there be a sudden increase in demand for jobs.
Jayati Ghosh. February 5, 2015. “India’s rural employment programme is dying a death of funding cuts”. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/feb/05/india-rural-employment-funding-cuts-mgnrega
30. Are there real-world programs we can study?
Yes. While there are no universal job guarantees today, there are many small- and large-scale programs employing millions of people each year that provide key lessons. This website provides both a map and program pages with information on their job guarantee or Public Service Employment programs. It aims to highlight both best practices and challenges.
31. Can job guarantee workers be fired?
Yes. The job guarantee aims to provide workers with the conditions and wrap-around services to ensure that they are successful on the job. Job guarantee workers who persistently fail to meet basic performance standards or threaten others’ safety, can be fired from their current job. They will be provided adequate due process, including the opportunity to dispute any disciplinary action.
32. How would a job guarantee work during an emergency like a pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic and the acute economic shock associated with the lockdowns demonstrated the need for a comprehensive job guarantee. There was both a major shock to private sector employment and an expanded need for public sector employment to address the public health crisis caused by the virus. The job guarantee could have swiftly provided workers to help with contact tracing, testing and vaccination, emergency triage, and new forms of assistance for vulnerable populations. The program could have directly addressed widespread unemployment and the sudden need for support services for public health needs. The program would have complemented the measures that governments had implemented during the crisis, including direct income support, child allowances, payroll protection and other worker safety and paid leave policies.
Measuring program effectiveness
33. How do you judge program success?
Several criteria can be used to evaluate the program’s success:
- Has the program provided suitable, useful work for all who have applied?
- Has it offered meaningful opportunities for advancement via training, education, or apprenticeships?
- Have jobs tackled specific community needs or other social deprivations?
34. How can the job guarantee prevent inefficiency, corruption, discrimination, and abuse?
Real-world Public Service Employment programs around the world have experience identifying and addressing inefficiency, corruption, discrimination, and abuse. Clear operational guidelines accompanied by multiple layers of oversight (local, state, and national) are indispensable in preventing and curtailing these issues.
As per the UN Report: “Adopting a rights-based approach is a first step towards reducing the risks of corruption and discrimination. This means defining access to the scheme as a legal entitlement, allowing for access to recourse mechanisms in cases of exclusion. Community- level social audits can also help to identify fraud: under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, such audits allow local communities to review information about who is recorded as working on the scheme, wage slips and the works carried out,” (Schutter, 2023).
Schutter, Olivier de. (April 18, 2023). The employment guarantee as a tool in the fight against poverty: report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter. Geneva. A/HRC/53/33.
35. Would the job guarantee increase the size of government?
Not necessarily. The job guarantee reduces existing costs of unemployment, poverty, and other social deprivations related to lack of stable employment.
The job guarantee would require an administrative structure to function well and a budget to support its demand-driven design. While some worry about the financial costs of these programs, real world programs and large-scale models suggest that they are still relatively modest (0.5-2.5% of GDP). (Wray, Dantas, Fullwiler et al. 2018).
In developing countries with large involuntary unemployment and a small public sector, the program will likely increase both the public sector size and its capacity to deliver public services.
Wray, et al. (2018). Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment. Levy Economics Institute.
36. What would a job guarantee mean for people who do not wish to work in the program?
This job guarantee is a voluntary program for those who seek paid employment. Nonparticipants would still benefit from the program operating in their communities and from the enhanced public services it offers. Those who work in the private sector would enjoy better employment opportunities because the job guarantee improves overall economic and labor market conditions. The program is not targeted to people who cannot or will not seek paid work for a variety of reasons (caregiving, education, health). Other income support programs are needed to strengthen economic security for all.
How would the JG interact with labor markets?
37. Would the job guarantee crowd out existing private or public sector work?
No. (See questions 35 and 43). The private sector remains the primary engine of employment growth and creates the majority of employment opportunities. The job guarantee would be authorized as a new program that creates new employment opportunities for jobseekers. It can help support and strengthen existing public sector work, but it does not replace it. Experience with large scale employment programs indicates that they do not crowd out public services.
Wray, R. et al. (2018). Public Service Employment: A Path to Full Employment. Levy Economics Institute.
38. Would job guarantee participants work for private contractors?
In principle, no. The job guarantee is organized as a public service employment program that helps fill the needs gaps in the community. It is not run for profit and is best administered by public, non-profit, and community organizations. Apprenticeship programs may be designed in cooperation with private firms to help youths gain specific technical skills and transition into private sector opportunities.
39. Can job guarantee workers join a union?
Yes. Job guarantee workers could join existing unions that represent public sector or non-profit employees. They could also form a union that represents job guarantee workers.
40. Are there legislative efforts in this direction?
Yes. See the *Policy & Political Action* page. The largest job guarantee program in the world is India’s MGNREGA, which provides a legally-enforceable right to rural employment. In the United States, recent legislative steps include:
– In 2023 the European Parliament adopted resolution P9_TA(2023)0438 titled “Job creation – the just transition and impact investments” which recognized the importance of the Job Guarantee in the creation of a more just and sustainable economy.
– The 2021 Federal job guarantee Resolution (H. Res. 145).
– The Green New Deal Resolution (H. Res. 109, S. Res. 166), which calls for “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”
– The Green New Deal for Cities, Towns, and Tribal Nations Act (H.R. 2644), the Workforce Promotion and Access (WPA) Act (H.R. 1388), Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice (H.R. 2670 and S. 1244), and the Thrive Act (H.R. 2919 and S. 1525), all of which include funding for public service employment.
– President Biden recently established the American Climate Corps. It is “a workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy. The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program.”
– In Europe, the Zero Long Term Unemployment Areas was recently expanded from 10 to 56 regions and the program is serving as a model for legislative efforts in Belgium, Italy and European Parliament
These movements demonstrate a growing political will for funding and administering public employment programs.
41. How does the job guarantee relate to initiatives like the Green Deal (EU) or Green New Deal (US)?
A job guarantee is a key policy element of the Green New Deal due to its importance in ensuring economic security for all; supporting workers transitioning out of carbon-intensive sectors and into climate-friendly jobs; and delivering on environmental remediation, protection, and energy efficiency projects and infrastructure. The job guarantee is a core piece of the United States Green New Deal Resolution and the European Parliament Resolution on Job Creation and the Just Transition. The THRIVE (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy) Resolution, which provides a framework for addressing the challenges of climate change, racial injustice, and the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, includes a focus on establishing new public employment programs as necessary in order to achieve a true full employment economy, “where every individual who wishes to work has a viable pathway to a meaningful and dignified job with the right to form a union.”
42. Won’t technology make jobs obsolete?
Technology will continue to transform our lives. Many jobs will be automated, while others will be invented. With a job guarantee, tech change will no longer be a threat to livelihoods. Instead, it can help increase productivity, reduce working hours, and improve standards of living without the loss of meaningful employment.
Because the job guarantee is conceived as a care program for the environment, people, and communities, it is unlikely that societies would run out of useful things to do. If society considers it important to provide jobs for all who want them, no robot can stand in the way of doing just that.
43. Didn’t the former Soviet bloc have a job guarantee?
No. The job guarantee operates within market conditions and serves as a complement to private sector employment and traditional public service. The private sector remains the primary engine of employment growth and the stronger it is, the smaller the job guarantee program. By contrast, in the former Soviet bloc, the government served as the employer of first and (in many places) only resort. This is neither the aim nor the design of the job guarantee.