The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.
24. 5. 04
Michal Meduna


In the fourth chapter of the comparative study, the author declares the need to compare individual, self-contained social security systems in the Czech Republic with those in a number of European countries. At the beginning, three conceptual approaches are put forward for dealing with the issue of migration and national systems of social security. The following text describes compares the following systems: pensions, health insurance, state social benefits, social care, social services and unemployment benefits.

Just like other countries, the Czech Republic deals with the clash between migration and the national social security system using a combination of methods integrating a number of considerations. This may mean eliminating differences between the individual legislative frameworks (e.g. certain treaties of the Council of Europe and the International Labor Organization) through special coordination and enabling a smooth transition between different systems as part of international agreements (e.g. within the European Union). Pension insurance (old age pensions and pensions for the disabled) is based on insurance contributions and thus there is no difference between Czech citizens and foreigners. For example, the minimum period of insurance required to be eligible for the old age pension is 25 years, which – compared to other European countries – is a relatively short period of time and does not constitute a form of indirect discrimination.

The system of health insurance covers all employees and self-employed individuals regardless of their residential status and without the mandatory qualification period required in other states. Persons with a permanent residency status have an automatic right to state social benefits, while other foreigners may claim these benefits one year from their registration. Foreigners are not entitled to child benefits if they are not residents of the Czech Republic, as the benefits are the right of the child, not the parent. Many European countries require the child and the parent to reside in the same country.

Provision of social benefits and social services is, with a few exceptions, depends on a permanent residency status, a criterion widespread all over in Europe. However, it is against the European Social Charter for governments who are parties to the Charter to treat citizens covered by the Charter in such a way, so there is a need for change. Working foreigners cannot execute their right to claim unemployment benefits no matter how much they have contributed, because as soon as they become unemployed, their right to reside in the Czech Republic is terminated. Foreign models dealing with such discrimination through payment of benefits abroad or through return of their unemployment insurance contributions do not seem feasible in the current situation in the Czech Republic. A more likely and easier solution would be to move away from the strict connection between a foreigner’s economic activity and his residency permit.
24. 5. 04

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