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To qualify for unemployment benefit, a person who becomes unemployed must have been employed for at least 26 weeks in the year immediately preceding unemployment (the so-called referte-eis, i.e. eligibility requirement). Those who have worked for less than 26 weeks come under the RWW scheme (income support for the unemployed under the National Assistance Act ). People receiving benefit must be available for work and if they are offered suitable employment are obliged to accept it. They must also actively seek work.

Workers who are deemed to have become unemployed "voluntarily" do not receive benefit, or receive only partial benefit. This applies to those who have been dismissed as a result of their own conduct, who have not instituted a legal claim against their dismissal or who have themselves resigned.

Unemployment benefit is funded through the contributions paid by employees, and is calculated as 70 per cent. of the daily pay last earned. The duration of the basic benefit is six months for every unemployed person, but may be extended up to a maximum of five years depending on an individual's employment history and age.

Public servants are covered by a separate scheme for unemployment pay (wachtgeld ), but the government intends to bring them into the ordinary unemployment benefit system by 1998.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009