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If you are out of work and looking for a new job, you might be entitled to some state support until you find one. In this article we give you an overview of what the conditions for eligibility are, how to go about making a claim, and what you would be entitled to if successful.
The conditions for claiming unemployment benefit are briefly as follows. You must hold either temporary residency as an EU Citizen, or, you must have held permanent residency as a non-EU Citizen for at least one year. In both cases, you must have worked and made social insurance contributions in the Czech Republic for at least twelve months over the last three years.
You must also be able to make a series of declarations which you would expect as standard: that you have no other forms of income, no severance pay outstanding, no income abroad, no businesses or directorships, and no impediments to work.
If you meet these criteria, you should be eligible for support.
Where to go?
All claims for unemployment benefit are handled by the Úřad práce (labor office). They have a website at the following address:
On here you can find your local uřad which is the one you must visit to make your claim. If you live in Prague 2, you should visit the Prague 2 office, but for this purpose it is important that your residency is up-to-date with your current address. If it is not, a visit to the foreign police will be in order first.
What to do?
In the Úřad práce, you should easily be able to find two forms which need to be completed. One is called Žádost o podporu v nezaměstnanosti – this is the claim for benefit, and the other is called Žádost o zprostředkování zaměstnání – this is a declaration that you are looking for work. On this form, you are also required to provide information on what type of work you seek specifically, so that you can be listed on the jobseekers’ register. Úřad práce cooperates with employers and keeps a database of open positions which you may apply for, but the responsibility to find work is ultimately yours. You must also take the following documents, and there are no exceptions made by the úřad here, so be diligent:
- Ukončení pracovního poměru – This document confirms the reason for, and the date of, your termination of employment.
- Potvrzení o zaměstnání – This is a confirmation of the period of time you worked in your previous position.
- Evidenční list duchodového pojištění – A statement of your pension contributions.
- Potvrzení o průměrném čistém výdělku – This confirms your previous monthly salary.
Your previous employer must provide you with all of these documents and they should be ready on or before the date you actually leave work. Once you have all of your paperwork in order, you may proceed to take a ‘nové evidence‘ ticket and sit down to wait your turn. You will then speak with a counselor, who will process your claim.
What are you entitled to?
This is defined in two ways: the period of support and the amount of support.
The basic period of support for anyone under the age of 50 years is up to five months. Between 50 and 55 it is eight months and 56+ it is eleven months. The amount of support depends on your previous salary and your reason for leaving the previous job.
The maximum amount you can receive in any month is capped at 13,528 CZK in all cases. The normal rate of support is 65% of your previous net salary for the first two months of unemployment, 50% for the two months after that, and 45% for any further period – within the 13,528 CZK maximum of course.
If you submitted your notice yourself, then you are entitled to the reduced rate of 45% for the period of your claim.
The Úřad práce pay the money either by bank transfer or money order. It is paid around the middle of the month following the claim.
What is required of you?
You are obliged to look for new work and attend one meeting per month where you may be asked to give details of what you have done to find work, including any interviews, etc. You will also be required to sign a statement to declare that you have not been successful in your search for work and that none of your circumstances have changed. The first monthly meeting will be arranged at the end of your initial claim, and every subsequent meeting will be arranged at the end of the one previous.
As many people who have dealt with Úřads will attest, there is often a certain amount of inconsistency in terms of what they require to deal with a request. Whilst they appear to be very process-driven, you can still expect to find a variation in requirements between different branches, or even between individual counselors. An example of this is that you may be able to get away with presenting only a rental contract instead of temporary residency in certain offices; other offices may require the official certificate of temporary residency.
It is not recommended to try this process unless you are proficient in Czech – you are unlikely to find anyone who speaks English and the chances of them being willing to use it in this situation are very slim. You can take somebody who speaks Czech with you, but they are going to want to hear from you too, so be prepared to answer some questions. Above all, make sure that you take all of the relevant documents with you.
If you have had any experiences with the Úřad práce, we’d love to hear them.