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‘Barflies’ at Kežmarok’s job office

THE JOB office in Kežmarok in eastern Slovakia has on its rolls persons who have been unemployed since the office opened more than 20 years ago and the head of the office blames the current social assistance system for the low interest among what he called ‘barflies’ to go out and seek jobs.

THE JOB office in Kežmarok in eastern Slovakia has on its rolls persons who have been unemployed since the office opened more than 20 years ago and the head of the office blames the current social assistance system for the low interest among what he called ‘barflies’ to go out and seek jobs.

“These people have been registered with the office since 1991, from when the job offices were launched and when registering of jobless people began,” said Ivan Kotora, the head of the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family in Kežmarok in early October, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

The current unemployment rate in Kežmarok is 29.2 percent; 8,827 people are registered as job seekers there. Kotora said there are more than 1,000 people who have been registered at the job office for more than 10 years and individuals with only vocational certificates or with often incomplete basic education comprise the largest group. Kotora added that many of these individuals have no working habits and only minimal knowledge and work capabilities, estimating their number at 75 percent of those registered at his office.

Kotora told SITA he believes that the current social assistance system is responsible for the high long-term unemployment in the community because the long-term unemployed with low education and skills will earn only a little more if they take a job. Moreover, he said the individuals would lose a number of social benefits such as state assistance for their children to attend school, transport benefits, food allowances, housing assistance, activation benefits and others if they found a job. Kotora estimated that the income of a family with three children would be only €65 per month higher if both parents got a job.

According to Kotora another reason why the long-term unemployed are not eager to take a job are overdue insurance payments that they owe, specifying that fines or claims cannot be recovered from individuals who are in material need.

Kotora gave as an example a recruitment campaign by a Trnava-based car factory held in Kežmarok in which the firm offered production line jobs at a net monthly salary between €500 and €600 as well as free accommodation, one hot meal per day and two trips home per month.

“We invited 300 people to attend the selection [in Kežmarok],” said Kotora. “Eleven jobless people showed interest.”


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