UK unemployment benefits ‘relatively tight’

Unemployment benefit conditions in the UK are ‘relatively tight’ compared with other EU countries, according to researchers in Germany.

The researchers propose a methodology for benchmarking EU unemployment benefits systems, to help assess how well they achieve their objectives.

Key points

  • The overall generosity of unemployment benefit systems shows a high degree of variation across countries.
  • The UK has ‘tight’ benefit conditions compared with the EU as a whole – ranking along with Malta, Poland, Romania and Estonia.
  • The UK also performs significantly worse than the average in terms of the ‘unemployment trap’ (low net income gain from taking up work from unemployment) and the ‘inactivity trap’ (low net income gain from taking up work from inactivity).
  • Insurance-based unemployment benefits play a much smaller role in the UK than in other countries, lasting just six weeks (with a good contribution record) compared with around 15 or 16 weeks elsewhere.

Source: Klara Stovicek and Alessandro Turrini, Benchmarking Unemployment Benefits in the EU, Policy Paper 43, Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn)
Link: Paper



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