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Slovakia: The “Work vs Money” Dilemma

SME newspaper published an article [sk] about a recent experiment in the city of Krompachy in East Slovakia. Unemployed people were being asked to get involved in a public flood protection project. In this region with a high level of unemployment, only four young men agreed. All others refused, claiming that they'd be poorer if they took this job.

The city calculated monthly budgets for local families with seven members – one where the husband accepted employment in the public sector, and the other where the husband was unemployed. They found that, because of losing some unemployment benefits and due to higher transportation expenditures, the employed man had 140 euros less than the unemployed one.

“And why do I have to work? To wake up every morning to go to work? They will take away the money [benefits] for child food, for housing and it is not a small amount. I prefer to not work and this way I will even save a few bucks,” Gejza, a father of four children, is quoted saying in the newspaper.

What is left unsaid in the original newspaper article is that many Slovaks would assume that someone unemployed, father of many children, with a Hungarian given name and living in East Slovakia is likely a member of the Roma ethnic group.

Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family said for the newspaper that “the Ministry knows about the badly tuned system of allowances for those in material need. Because of this, [the Ministry] has already made an effort to introduce changes, so that the recipient of state benefits had to deserve them. Unfortunately, the proposal encountered opposition and did not make it to the negotiation stage. Anyway, we continue to look for an adequate system change.”

Below are some comments from the article's discussion.

Element:

Even if it's 140 euro more for a working person, it will not help too much. Because for a man who has never been working in his life such a difference will not make him work.

Mrmr:

An extremely [...] misleading article. It's not the social benefits that are high, but the wages – incomes – are low. If they said that payment for flood protection work would be 1,000 euros per month, then the numbers and comparisons would look different…

Smeckar:

Parental allowances should not be paid as a standard, but just like a deductible item from the wage. Those who do not work will get no allowances … otherwise you can't make people work…

buster234:

Why would they go to work when we are working for them! And when there is a lack of money, they will have our social contributions increased!

addis pareba:

Badly tuned is not the system of allowances and social benefits. Badly tuned is the system of work remuneration.

Tress:

Who is writing that social allowances are too high? They are not. Do you want to tell me that about 450 euros for a family with six members is [too] much? It is not. It is necessary to increase wages and not to lower small benefits!

djmaros (in reply):

Someone is standing in your way? Just ask your boss to add you 500 euros per month. Will he?

treke:

For a parasite it is [too] much. For a person who cares about himself alone and is intentionally overeating and overdrinking the results of someone else's work, it is 100% more than necessary.

racional:

They encountered opposition? Who are those opponents to lowering of the benefits for useless mouths?

mudla (in reply):

The opponents see it realistically. Where does that minister want to employ that unemployed to create merit? How many unemployed do we have for one free job position?

zeta reticuli (in reply):

Where to employ them? Public works. [...] All the streets are shining [...]. At least they will not steal and make children.

econoir.sk:

Don't be naive. It's 400,000 of voters.

zeta reticuli:

The solution is … when an unemployed person starts to work, he should not lose the whole allowance, it will just be lowered … This way it can't happen that a working person has less than a non-working one, however low his wages are.

prdola:

“Ministry: change is necessary”
White people will work more and for less money.

Lionluck1971:

I have just one question: how many officials our state needed to calculate what one unqualified Roma has been able to calculate?

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