Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Respekt: Stricter rules for unemployed may be social trap

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Table of Contents

Prague, Oct 18 (CTK) – Most Czech welfare benefits are likely to be paid only to people who participate in community service, but this may be a trap as there are not enough jobs to be offered in the ageing society, Marek Svehla writes in weekly Respekt out on Monday.

If nothing unexpected happens, the Senate will pass the bill on poverty and the president will sign it into law, the conditions under which welfare benefits are paid to the poorest people would become stricter, Svehla writes.

To a great extent, the benefits will be paid out provided that the recipients perform work that the municipal authority assigns to them, such as cleaning the streets, he writes.

If somebody does not work, the state will not grant the subsistence level amount (3410 monthly per one person) but a specially introduced lower level (2200 crowns monthly per person) to these “lazy” people who allegedly do not try hard enough to seek jobs, Svehla writes.

However, for numerous groups of people it is very difficult to get a job, due to their various handicaps. Some of them cannot find a job for years and some even fail to find it until the end of their lives, he writes.

There have not been jobs for all and those who do not work are not always lazy, although populists claim the opposite. It is paradoxical: the lower the number of unemployed people in the Czech Republic, the more radical the campaign against the jobless. Especially right-wing politicians create the impression as if life on welfare benefits is easy, attractive and advantageous and the long-term unemployed become a public enemy, Svehla writes.

But becoming unemployed is no walk through a rose garden. People get unemployment benefits equalling one half of their salary (but a maximum of 15,000 crowns monthly) for five months. Then the sum they receive drops to subsistence level and the authorities check whether they have any savings or property, from which they could cover their costs of living themselves. If a state official concludes that people have such finances or property, no benefit is paid to them, Svehla writes.

The subsistence level is higher if a family has three or more children, but verbal attacks against large poor families are baseless in relation to unemployment because most of the benefits that such a family gets are for the children, Svehla says.

Populists present a typical long-term unemployed as a lazy young man, but they are in fact often people who lost their jobs shortly before retirement age and nobody is willing to employ them anymore. They are people with health disabilities who must visit doctors more frequently and thus cannot work on regular shifts. They are mothers who stayed at home with their children for a number of years and fail to re-enter the working process, Svehla writes.

If the bill takes effect, even these people would have to clean the streets or remove snow unless they want to receive a mere 2200 crowns a month, he adds.

In short, the dream of most Czech politicians that everybody should work and that strict measures would force people not to be lazy is unrealistic, Svehla says.

In some foreign countries, politicians discuss the guaranteeing of a basic income, which would provoke people’s activity, give them a programme in life and create new useful jobs. It is unclear as yet what effect such a measure would have, but the Czech Republic is definitely moving in the opposite direction, Svehla writes.

most viewed

Subscribe Now