Cash bonus to get jobless back to work

Unemployed people need to be offered greater incentives to choose jobs over living on welfare, a new government inquiry has said. People who go from social benefits into work should get a 1,500 kronor-a-month bonus from the state, the inquiry concluded in a report published on Wednesday.

The inquiry, delivered by former civil servant Sture Korpi, was commissioned by the former Social Democratic government to find out how more people can get out of benefit dependency and back into the workforce.

The report was delivered on Wednesday morning to Maria Larsson, minister for elderly care and public health. In it, Korpi proposes making it more profitable for people to choose work over benefits. He also says that the state employment service should improve the way it helps people on social benefits, and calls for improved rehabilitation programmes.

Among the 25 proposals laid out in the document is a suggestion that people who have been on social benefits for at least six months should be allowed to keep a ‘bonus’ from their benefit cheque of 1,500 kronor a month when they start working. The idea behind this is to make it more profitable to work.

Social benefits are the lowest form of benefit, paid to people who do not qualify for the better-paying unemployment benefits paid by the union-run unemployment schemes.

The report also proposes improving contacts between the employment service and employers. A new class of official – the job agent – will be created at the employment service, whose job it will be to build contacts with companies.

Employers will be able to offer ‘establishment jobs’ to people who have never before had a job.

The government is also encouraged in the report to offer three weeks’ work experience to all upper secondary school students, as well as better study support and apprenticeship schemes.

Children of benefit takers should be allowed to take holiday jobs that pay up to 20,000 kronor a year, without this affecting the size of the parents’ benefits. Many parents currently lose benefits if their children work in the school break.