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Czech Labor Minister wants all the unemployed to perform community service

Prague, 12.8.2010 16:16, (ROMEA)

People applying for emergency subsistence contributions in the Czech Republic are going to be obliged to work a certain number of hours in community service. Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek (TOP 09) was quoted on the plans in the Tuesday edition of Lidové noviny (LN). The change could affect all unemployed persons, with the exception of those on disability, as soon as next year, news server Lidovky.cz reports.

"We are planning for the unemployed to automatically participate in community service. Should the unemployed person refuse, we will view that as the person demanding aid from the state but not being willing to participate in work. It is on that basis that the individual will be evaluated for welfare support,” Drábek told LLN.

Currently, those who have been registered with labor offices as unemployed for more than six months must perform at least 20 hours of community service in order to receive emergency subsistence contributions. Drábek wants to change the system and is also planning to increase the difference in the amount of welfare paid to those who are willing to work more than the obligatory number of hours.

Drábek noted that today the difference between the emergency subsistence contributions received by people who perform only the obligatory 20 hours of community service and those who exceed that limit is CZK 1 500 (EUR 60). He believes the difference is not sufficiently motivating and must be increased. He wants to start working on an amendment to the law this year. “This measure should take effect during next year,” he said.

Involving more unemployed persons in obligatory community service, according to news server Lidovky.cz, will reduce state expenditures, for example, on the future clean-up of flood damages. The unemployed are now involved in the clean-up as part of community service and are remunerated by a combination of contributions from municipal budgets and labor offices.

There are currently 505 284 unemployed persons in the Czech Republic. Only 14 000 of them were active in community service in June, Lidovky.cz reports.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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