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Minister announces higher benefits before stepping down

ONLY A few days before his expected departure from his ministerial post, Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník announced generous hikes in various welfare benefits for poorer social groups, the daily SME reported.

ONLY A few days before his expected departure from his ministerial post, Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník announced generous hikes in various welfare benefits for poorer social groups, the daily SME reported.

Meanwhile, small companies will receive a one-off flat-rate payment of Sk58,212 (€1,490) if they take on unemployed people.

If companies take on unemployed persons older than 50, the long-term unemployed, disabled people, graduates or single parents, the payment will be more than Sk80,000 (€2,000). Since children are Slovakia's future, Kaník says, the ministry will also pay welfare benefits for food and school materials, and will provide merit-linked scholarships to students from the poorest families as of January 2006.

Kaník also announced that transportation benefits for disabled people would be increased by Sk250 (€6.40) per month. As of February 2006, extra money will also be given to pensioners who were prisoners of conscience during the former Communist regime.

Kaník decided to resign from his ministerial post after it was revealed that his family firm had applied for a Sk22-million (€557,000) grant from the EU Structural Fund via the Slovak Tourism Agency (SACR). The money was supposed to be spent on rebuilding work at a hotel in Banská Štiavnica.


- Martina Jurinová

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