EI benefits differ from Country to Country in the amount of benefits paid to employees, the length of time over which such benefits are paid and the criteria for benefit eligibility.
With the exception of Japan, countries within the European Union have some of the most generous unemployment benefit programs in the world. Globemploy has profiled the following countries for you:
GERMANY: In Germany, benefits are paid for a period of up to a year, though this period can be extended if the worker is older than 47, or has been employed for 18 out of the last 36 months. Unemployment benefits equal 60% of the previous salary, but the government also provides a housing subsidy to the unemployed worker.
Switzerland: Unemployment benefits equal 70% of the employee's previous salary provided that individuals have worked 400 days out of the previous two years.
Sweden: Unemployment benefits in Sweden are paid for 300 days. Unemployment applicants receive 80% of their last income.
Netherlands: Benefits are 70% of the previous salary. Benefits are paid to employees who have worked a minimum of 26 out of the previous 39 weeks and who can demonstrate a similar work pattern for the previous five years. Benefits are generally paid for a period of 6 months.
UK: In the UK, employment benefits are called the Job Seekers Allowance. This sum is calculated as a weekly amount of £56.25 to £111.40, depending on one’s living situation.
JAPAN: Unemployment benefits in Japan are generally paid from between 90 to 150 days. For average median wage workers, unemployment benefits will equal 67% of their previous salary.
The criteria for eligibility differ from Country to Country. In Canada, for example, employees must have paid Employment Insurance premiums on their wages. These premiums are deducted by the employer from the employee’s weekly wages and paid to the Government. Canada’s EI program insures earnings up to $45,900. EI benefits are calculated at 55% of the employee’s average weekly earnings. In Canada, EI is paid for up to 42 weeks.
In the USA, the average weekly unemployment benefit payment is calculated at 36% of the employee's previous salary. Under the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Unemployment benefits can be extended for up to 99 weeks.
What advice can we offer job seekers?
Employment insurance is only one of the variables that should be taken into account when searching for jobs. For example, the high unemployment insurance rate in Europe might be a good thing if you are unemployed; however it can be much more difficult to find work in such countries, since these countries make it difficult for employers to lay-off workers. Employers in Countries with a lower EI benefit rate, such as the USA, have, historically been quicker to increase their workforce after a recession, since they know that they can easily downsize their workforce if conditions change.