The opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) proposes a set of measures, so-called “small Roma reform”, which its initiators claimed would result in better law enforcement for all and a situation in which it pays to work. Tabled for a fourth time, it failed again to gain
passage in parliament on July 9.

“We want to improve the living conditions of people with socially disadvantaged background,” SDKÚ Chairman Pavol Frešo said last week, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We also have the support of Government Proxy for the Roma Communities Peter Pollák (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities-OĽaNO) and we consider this to be a programme priority of the party. It’s also our contribution to combating extremism. If standard political parties don’t offer standard solutions, they will be put
forward by extremists in metal boots.”

The legislative package included amendments to four laws: those to the Subsistence Allowance Act and the Parental Benefit Act aimed to change the criteria for providing subsistence allowance so that families where at least one parent works would be entitled to higher financial assistance than those that live exclusively on social-security benefits.

The amendment to the Construction Act was aimed at combating illegal landfill sites and illegal Roma buildings; while the amendment to the Offences Act dealt with crime among the unemployed who can’t afford to pay fines.

“We're doing what the government is failing to do," said chairman of the SDKÚ caucus and former labour minister (2002-2005) Ľudovít Kaník. In regard to the amendment to the Subsistence Allowance Act, Kaník proposed deducting 40 percent of net incomes for a family with at least one working parent from the sum based on which the allowance can be claimed. Families in need can currently deduct only 25 percent of their net incomes. Kaník argued that the measure will translate into higher net incomes for working families and will increase people’s motivation to work.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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