ECONOMY

Income criteria for the jobless

Income criteria for the jobless

Unemployment benefits distributed to people registered with the Manpower Organization (OAED) will depend on income criteria, according to a new Labor Ministry draft bill presented on Thursday.

The organization is being renamed as the Public Employment Agency (DYPA), said Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, and its governing board will come under state control, though there will also be a second body made up of representatives of the social partners.

The draft bill also activates a 1985 law providing for a two-year ban from the job-seekers’ register of people who have turned down a vacancy three times. On the other hand, a bonus is being introduced for the long-term unemployed and the jobless benefit is transformed into an employment benefit, with several pilot schemes being introduced with resources from the Next Generation EU fund.

There are also significant changes regarding training and skills education, so that the resources spent respond to the needs of the economy.

The bill that is expected to be put up for public consultation on Friday has a clear objective of tackling the various phenomena of OAED handout abuse. They often concern thousands of people who deliberately take taxpayers’ money without any monitoring while declaring personal or family incomes of tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros per year. They also regard programs that remain open for years as employers seek the right workers in vain. There are also millions of euros wasted in skills-building initiatives without any monitoring over their efficiency.

Hatzidakis highlighted the main idea behind the bill in a statement, saying that it seeks to ensure that the organization shifts from being a trap for the unemployed and a mechanism handing out useful but insufficient benefits, into a lever for the reduction of unemployment and for getting the jobless back to work.

As OAED director Spyros Protopsaltis noted – after having contributed greatly to most of the bill’s regulations – the new employment agency will support those who actually need it and is meant to realize efficient and active policies that will match the actual needs and the requirements of the economy.