A large percentage of jobless people are threatened by poverty, according to a fresh study commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and conducted by the think tank Praxis.

The study analyzed the impact of 21 welfare programs.

One of the major findings was that the number of newly unemployed persons who register with the Unemployment Fund during the calendar month nearly twice exceeds the number of those qualifying for the unemployment insurance benefit or unemployment aid at the same time – a situation that provides for a high risk of falling into a poverty, the study said. The amount of aid received is also small, according to the findings.

The amount of the insurance benefit received is calculated on the basis of the person’s nine months’ wages received up to three months prior to losing employment.

A person is entitled to receive 50 percent of his or her former salary calculated in this fashion for the first 100 calendar days and 40 percent for the rest of the period which depends on the history of employment and can be either 180, 270 or 360 days.

Generally, to survive, one needs to be employed, the study said. But in some cases, when people qualify for several sources of compensation, aid outweighed the motivation for getting a low-salary job, especially with the added expenses that come with working, such as transport and child care.

Praxis made several policy recommendations, such as supporting public transport in rural regions, minimizing costs for kindergarten, and a progressive income tax – the latter being something that the ruling government has strongly opposed.

Source: State Aid to Jobless Barely Sufficient for Fending off Poverty, Study Finds, ERR