Table 1 Characteristics of unemployment protection in 23 European countries, ranked by welfare state regime (2004)33 34
Welfare regime (1–5, high–low)CountryFunding systemQualifying period*Initial net replacement rate (% of net average wages)†Unemployment insurance benefit duration (months)‡Waiting period (days)§
1. ScandinavianDenmarkSubsidised voluntary insurance12 months in last 3 years70480
FinlandVoluntary subsidised insurance and social assistance system43 weeks in last 2 years70237
NorwaySocial insuranceAnnual earnings in last year equal to 75% of base amount68365
SwedenSubsidised programme of basic insurance and voluntary income-related insurance6 months in last 12 months75285
2. BismarckianAustriaSocial insurance28 weeks in last 12 months6390
BelgiumSocial insurance468 days in last 27 months61No limit0
FranceSocial insurance and social assistance6 months in last 22 months75238
GermanySocial insurance and social assistance12 months in last 2 years69120
LuxembourgSocial insurance26 weeks in last 12 months80120
NetherlandsSocial insurance and social assistance26 weeks in last 39 weeks74240
SwitzerlandSocial insurance12 months in last 2 years77245
3. Anglo-SaxonIrelandSocial insurance and social assistance39 weeks in last 12 months49153
United KingdomSocial insurance and social assistanceContributions equivalent to 25 and 50 times the lower earnings limit must have been paid in the last 2 years5463
4. Southern EuropeGreeceSocial insurance125 days in last 14 months55126
ItalySocial insurance2 years of insurance contributions with 52 weeks contributions in last 2 years5467
PortugalSocial insurance and social assistance540 days in last 24 months83240
SpainSocial insurance12 months in last 6 years67210
5. Eastern EuropeCzech RepublicSocial insurance12 months in last 3 years565
HungarySocial insurance12 months in last 4 years4990
PolandSocial insuranceEarnings in 18 months prior to claim must be at least equivalent to the minimum wage59127
SloveniaSocial insurance12 months in last 18 months568
  • *For unemployment insurance benefits.

  • †Net replacement rate  =  (benefit income when unemployed – tax on benefit income)/(earned income + benefit income when employed − tax on earnings and benefits) × 100; it is assumed that the unemployed worker is 40 years old and has an uninterrupted employment record of 22 years. Benefits included in calculation: unemployment insurance, unemployment assistance, social assistance, family benefits, housing benefits.

  • ‡Months at equivalent to the initial rate for the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Spain, where the benefit level declines overtime (eg, for Spain, where the nominal replacement rate declines from 70% to 60% after 6 months, the month’s equivalent initial rate is calculated as 6 months plus six-sevenths of 18 months). In most countries after the insurance period ends the unemployed person is entitled to claim social assistance (which may be means-tested).

  • §No data available.