Of 200,000 people in Slovakia who receive material-need benefits, only one quarter of them are employed and the labour ministry, led by Jozef Mihál of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, is proposing to reduce the benefits for those who are in need but are unemployed by one-third, the Sme daily wrote on August 3.
The current material-need benefit is €62 and the proposal is to reduce it to €38, Sme wrote, adding that a person can receive an additional €38 to €85 by participating in a so-called motivational benefit but explaining that there are not sufficient community works available for all who would like to work in this way.
The State Secretary of the Labour Ministry, Lucia Nicholsonová, stated that if community works are not available, any beneficial activity undertaken by the unemployed for the community would be taken into consideration. The lower sum of the motivational benefits would be granted to persons who participate in programs organised by community centres, civic associations, non-profit organizations, foundations and activities organised by the leisure-time centres. The ministry’s proposal will now be evaluated by other ministries and government institutions.
The basic sum of material-need benefits is to account for 20 percent of the minimum subsistence level, which the ministry considers a "financial expression of the constitutional guarantee of securing basic living conditions", the SITA newswire wrote.
SITA also wrote that the state would grant citizens who are unable to improve their unfavourable social situation for objective reasons a solidarity benefit amounting to 40 percent of the subsistence level, which would be €75.94 next year, noting that old-age or disabled pensioners or pregnant women would be eligible for the solidarity benefit. Job applicants who are extramural students at secondary schools or universities or attend training or educational programs to prepare for the labour market or engage in activating activities in the form of minor municipal services would also receive the higher motivation benefit, SITA wrote.
Source: Sme, SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
3. Aug 2011 at 14:00