Group of candidates waiting for a job interview (illustrative image)

Czech unemployment regulations may tighten in July

The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry plans to introduce stricter rules for job applicants as of July within its effort to reduce long-term unemployment

Prague, Jan 7 (CTK) – The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry plans to introduce stricter rules for job applicants as of July within its effort to reduce long-term unemployment and find jobs for handicapped job applicants, according to the draft amendment to the law on employment released on the government website.

Under the draft amendment, the Labour Office may demand that sick unemployed people undergo a medical examination and it may check whether the unemployed do not have a secret job.

If job applicants repeatedly do not cooperate with the Labour Office and do not seek a job, unemployment benefit may stop being paid to them for nine months, while now the benefit may be taken away from them for six months.

Experts on social affairs criticised this planned change. They said it would not improve the situation of the people in need. On the contrary, the poor families may face the loss of their flat or run into even higher debts due to it.

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The amendment also deals with the living minimum, benefits for foster parents and the housing benefit.

The Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union. According to the Labour Office data, the unemployment rate in the country was 2.6 percent in November, and nearly 200,000 job applicants and more than 338,000 vacancies were registered.

The ministry said some people get registered at the Labour Office as job seekers not because they want a job but because the state pays the health insurance on behalf of them in this situation. If these people were deleted from the list of job seekers, the state may save up to 100 million crowns a year.

The minimum fine for illegal employment of foreigners who do not have a work permit or residence permit will be doubled, from 50,000 to 100,000 crowns.

The amendment introduces a new category of handicapped job applicants, which includes parents of underage children, people aged over 55, fresh graduates, people without higher education, those who have been unemployed for more than five months, asylum seekers and those who care for a disabled person.

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Specially handicapped job applicants are people who are unemployed for more than a year, face a distraint process or have nowhere to live, those who live on welfare, disabled persons and applicants who are handicapped by more than one condition at once.

State companies, public benefit corporations, social enterprises or municipalities may create jobs for specially handicapped job applicants that would be state-subsidised for three years. The state may spend roughly 144 million crowns a year on these jobs.

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