WKÖO wants stiff penalties for jobless refusing work

by Rob Hyde

Unemployed people not prepared to accept work offered to them should face harsher penalties says the Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour (WKÖO).

The WKÖO contacted 11 jobless people for a 2,900 Euro per month position on an Upper Austrian construction site. As none took up the position, the authority said this was a slap in the face “for all employers who are keen to recruit new staff.”

WKÖO president Rudolf Trauner said: “One should punish those who abuse the social state in a more consistent way and withdraw their unemployment benefit for longer.”

Under current Austrian legislation, an unemployed person is a person who is without work, but who has registered as seeking work with the Austrian public employment service (AMS).

A person should then be willing to either take up a position offered, participate in a
labour market policy scheme or to seek work independently.

If he or she refuses an offered job or ends his training scheme, the benefit payments are then suspended. In addition to this, the payment is then reduced for 6 weeks if it is a first time offence, and up to 8 weeks for repeated offences.

Claims for payment can only be made by people who have made employment insurance contributions for an appropriate period.

The basic rate of unemployment benefit is in most cases around 55% of the claimant’s former net income, which is a gross wage minus income tax and social security contributions.