Unemployment benefit period cut, while minimum pension amount increased

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Saeima passed an amendment on November 14 decreasing unemployment benefits from nine months to eight, while on November 13 they passed an amendment increasing the minimum pension, according to the Saiema Press Service. Both changes were passed in the final reading and will take effect in 2020.

As a result of the amendment unemployment benefits will be the full salary amount for two months, 75% for the third month, 50% for the fifth and sixth month, and 45% for the seventh and eighth month. Previously benefits were paid for nine months in a 12 month period.

According to State Social Insurance Agency data, the average time unemployed persons receive benefits is 4.4 months, which indicates that the majority find work before the end of the benefit period. Welfare Ministry staff drafting the amendment noted that because of this statistic the salary percentage is kept decently high even after the first two months.

The amendments regarding pensions provides for a government-defined base for pension calculations. In general, the amount will be 80 euros (previously 64.03 euros), while for people with childhood disabilities the amount will be 122.69 euros (previously 106.72 euros). The Cabinet of Ministers will define the minimal pension amount and how it is allocated.

The increase will apply to 20 500 persons, and the approximately seven euro increase will require 1.8 million euros, according to the amendment annotations. According to State Social Insurance Agency information, in the second quarter of this year 449 000 people receive pensions, while 14% of those received the minimum pension.

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