Friday 9/17/21
NORDICS

Denmark wants jobless with 'integration needs' to work for benefits

Jobs could include picking up plastic and cigarette butts on the beach, for example, according to Labour Minister Peter Hummelgaard
The Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen. Photo: Photo: Thierry Roge/dpa.
The Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen. Photo: Photo: Thierry Roge/dpa.

The Danish government wants unemployed people who have "integration needs" and receive state financial support to work 37 hours a week, according to a reform package presented on Tuesday.

"The most important thing is to get people out the door," said Labour Minister Peter Hummelgaard.

"Many non-Western women experience not being allowed to leave the house due to social control by spouses and sons," he added.

Danish language classes and work placements could be part of the 37-hour work requirement. Jobs could include picking up plastic and cigarette butts on the beach, for example, according to Hummelgaard.

The measure would apply to about 20,000 people in the first phase.

People who recently finished their education will also be forced to look for a job more quickly under the new measure.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen pointed out that nearly a quarter of unemployment recipients are graduates. "New graduates have just received a good education. They should apply that in the labour market and not in the unemployment queue," said Frederiksen.

Graduates to work as cleaners

The head of the employers' organization Dansk Erherv welcomed the announced package and said he believed it would encourage graduates to work as waiters or cleaners.

"It is completely grotesque to draw unemployment benefits instead of taking an open position - even if it's one you're not trained for," Brian Mikkelsen told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

The reform package, which was criticized by the Red-Green Unity List and the Socialist People's Party, must still be passed by parliament.

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