The size of unemployment benefits in Europe


Unemployment benefit is the material support by the state of the able-bodied population, temporarily unemployed, but engaged in an effective job search and ready to start work. Historically, the world has formed two types of income protection for the unemployed - this is the social insurance benefit for unemployment and monetary (or other) assistance to the unemployed.

What is unemployment benefit?

Unemployment benefit - government support in the form of regular cash payments to those citizens who are recognized as unemployed for reasons stipulated by law. It is paid depending on the size of the wages received before the dismissal, work experience and other conditions. Unemployment benefit in Europe - social support, temporarily replacing the main regular sources of income. At the legislative level, the conditions and norms of benefits paid under social programs that are specific to each country individually are regulated. The program of support for the unemployed also includes assistance in finding a job, training or obtaining a new specialty for the period of job search.

Psychological aspect of social benefits

Sociologists noted the psychological degree of demotivation benefits to find a job. Based on these experts, it is obvious that with the loss of only a small part of the income after dismissal, the unemployed delays the search for a new job until the end of the benefit payment period.


Another disincentive factor is often the high level of unemployment benefits in Europe, which induces the unemployed to demand the same high level of wages in the new workplace, while not raising their qualifications, which greatly complicates the search for work. A significant disincentive effect can be traced in some countries of the European Union, where benefits are calculated either in stable terms or as a percentage of the average wage.

The historical formation of unemployment benefits

Benefits in the form of support for the livelihood of people in need of social assistance in distress due to disability, old age, keeping young children without a breadwinner - were common since ancient times, although they were not formalized. The increasing complexity of social and economic relations also added other causes of unemployment and poverty, giving rise to the need for state support. Although for a long time the disabled part of the population was kept within the framework of family communities. During the period of development of feudalism, assistance was provided in kind or by placing in almshouses, houses of contempt, orphanages, which were maintained by charity under the care of the clergy.

The workers who temporarily lost their ability to work were supported at the expense of the shop allied mutual assistance. The period of disintegration of the community organization and the use of hired labor as a commodity forced the state to develop an integral system of social protection of workers, with part of the benefits for employers, especially in cases of industrial injuries.

Germany was one of the first countries to create an insurance system for employees, providing workers with material benefits in all cases of loss of earnings: illnesses, accidents, disability, old age. Following the example of Germany, similar laws of social protection for employees began to be adopted in other European countries.

Who gets the right to pay?

Unemployment benefit in Europe is paid to a resident of the country recognized as unemployed by the social employment service. The right to receive benefits and the actual payments are made after they receive the status of the unemployed. It is not an absolute basis for recognizing the status of the unemployed if the applicant is not engaged in any work activity. To obtain the required status, it is necessary to submit documents stipulated by the legislation in order to avoid mistakes with the category of unemployed who do not want to work, although they have all the indicators of working capacity.


There is a generally accepted definition of the status of the unemployed as a socio-economic phenomenon - when a person who wants to work cannot find a job at the standard wage rate.

Base payout period

Each state system has its own regulatory aspects of the program to support the unemployed population. An unemployed person must meet the necessary conditions for receiving unemployment benefits in Europe, as well as the conditions of the period during which he receives benefits. The time that is allocated for the paid period, when the applicant is looking for work, or is undergoing retraining - is called base. This period varies in each country from 4 months to a year. Usually, within the base period, the applicants find a new job or re-take their place. If the unemployed continues to confirm his status as unemployed, his payments are reduced and the period itself is extended, depending on age and social status, to 2 years. Although there are more prolonged periods of unemployment benefits in some European countries.

Payment Terms

In Europe, not everyone who is out of work can count on regular social benefits. It is necessary to provide information about the work experience, the amount of earnings for a certain working period. It is also important for the relevant services to know whether the unemployed made monthly contributions to the social fund.


Unemployment benefit in Europe is paid on average for about 2 years with simultaneous offers of new vacancies, which are selected by the unemployed employment service. If vacancies are rejected 3 times - payments are stopped. But there are exceptions for periods of paid unemployment benefits in Europe. For example, in the UK, the maximum payment period is 6 months, and already after the 13th week, the applicant must accept any proposed vacancy.

Italy also differs in terms of unemployment benefits - only 8 months. In addition, an important aspect for calculating the amount of unemployment benefits is the area in which people worked until they lost their jobs.

In Belgium, on the contrary, the payment period is not limited, but only decreases over time.

France. Payment Terms

Unemployment benefit in Europe in France depends on the salary of the applicant and regular membership fees paid together with the employer (2.4% - employee and 4% - employer) for 4 months out of 18 that preceded the moment of worker’s termination of the contract.


The amount of unemployment benefits is about 60% of the salary received before the dismissal. In the country, leadership positions are paid much higher than their subordinates; therefore, the necessary “ceiling” for unemployment benefits was set at 6, 161 euros per month. The period for receiving unemployment benefits varies from 4 months to 2 years. For those laid off from the age of 50 years, the term is extended up to three years. Despite the complicated and thought-out system of insurance payments, there are a lot of unemployed people in the country.

Germany. Here are your rules

There are two types of unemployment benefits in Germany. The first type of benefit is entitled to receive only those citizens who promptly notified state bodies about possible loss of work, for example, working under a fixed-term employment contract. The second type of unemployment benefit is paid by the state, provided that the applicant has worked for at least a year before the date of dismissal, with an employment of at least 15 hours per week. The first 1.5 years the amount of benefits is 60% of the average salary.


If there are children in the family, the benefit will be 67% of the earnings. After one and a half years of payments, in case of remaining unemployed, the amount of the benefit is reduced to 400 euros per month. The duration of payments does not exceed 24 months.

The maximum amount of monthly social payments to the unemployed is 2215 euros in West Germany and about 2, 000 euros in East Germany.

Conditions for the payment of benefits in the US

In the United States, payments to the unemployed are significantly lower than the average level of unemployment benefits in Europe and do not allow for the provision of satisfactory American living conditions. The amount of the allowance is only 50% of the salary until the moment of dismissal. Payments are paid weekly. Their amount varies from 60 to 250 dollars.

The status of the unemployed provides some social benefits: tax deductions for each minor dependent in the family, preferential meals for the student and some products.

In some states, the allowance is not intended for everyone who has the required unemployment status. Much depends on the size of the earnings of the applicant, which must match his qualifications. In Connecticut, payments are secured only for the unemployed, who received a salary of at least $ 600 before the dismissal. In Maine, the minimum wage should not be below $ 3, 300. Such harsh conditions are common only in some states, but the general is the rate of working hours worked before the moment of dismissal - not less than 68 hours.

Unemployment Benefit for Refugees in Europe

In the past few years, a flood of refugees from countries with a poor economic situation has poured into the countries of Europe, especially Germany. Refugees receive subsidies and support from the state, including cash compensation for unemployment, but on the basis of integrating them into the society in which they find themselves.


To ensure unemployment benefits, refugees must learn the language of the country in which they receive refugee status, find housing, and work. The benefit is paid at the rate of 40-60% of the average wage in the country. If the refugee does not want to fulfill the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits, he can only live on social assistance. Refugees receive the right to work after a certain time from obtaining refugee status. In particular, in Germany - in a year, in Belgium, Italy - in half a year, in Finland - in 3 months.

The size of unemployment benefits in different EU countries

The determining factor for the amount of the benefit is the salary before dismissal: the higher the salary, the higher the benefit. Usually, the unemployment rate is marked by a youth indicator, which is usually higher, and a long-term one, which includes the able-bodied population with work experience.


The table shows the average figures for how many unemployed people in Europe pay. Also indicated is the average percentage of unemployed among the working population in the country. Unemployment benefit by year varies slightly, depending on the economic and political situation in the state.

A country

Benefit / month (€)

Term deductions

Unemployed rate (%)

Great Britain


1 year




240 days




4 months-2 years



2295 (90% of the last salary)

Till 2 years



1541 (60% of the last salary)



4020 (55% of the national average salary)

Up to 9 years



144, 75 per day

From 3 to 38 months




200 to 520 days


The reasons for the denial of benefits

An unemployed may lose the right to receive unemployment benefits in Europe and the world in the following cases:

  • Dismissing it at will.
  • Dismissal due to inappropriate conduct, or participation in public demonstrations contrary to the law. Thus, workers are disqualified for 4 months in Germany, Finland, Belgium, Austria.
  • If the applicant three times refused the recommended profile job.
  • Failure to appear in the social employment authorities at the appointed time to confirm the status of the unemployed.
  • In cases where payments are fraudulently secured, that is, with the help of dummies.

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