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Labour Minister says there is no money now for extending unemployment benefits

No funds have yet been allocated for extending the period for drawing unemployment benefits, said Labour Minister Viera Tomanová at a press conference following a session of the tripartite social partners (unions, employers and government) on October 26, the TASR newswire reported.

No funds have yet been allocated for extending the period for drawing unemployment benefits, said Labour Minister Viera Tomanová at a press conference following a session of the tripartite social partners (unions, employers and government) on October 26, the TASR newswire reported.

According to Tomanová, Finance Minister Ján Počiatek told the social partners that he will look for ways for finding funds to allow unemployment benefit payments to be prolonged from the current six to eight months.

At the same time, the conditions for obtaining benefits should be eased as well. Until now, those eligible must have been in work for at least three of the past four years. If the Labour Ministry's proposal is passed, this condition will be reduced to two out of the past three years.

Representatives of trade unions have agreed with the extension but employers are against it. “It creates costs and demands on the state budget. We favour conditions for creating new jobs,” the vice president of the Slovak Federation of Employers Associations (AZZZ), Rastislav Machunka, told TASR.

The ruling parties’ Coalition Council is to first deal with the amendment which will then be submitted to parliament for fast-tracked processing. Tomanová wants the amendment to become valid in January 2010.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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