Published on November 8, 2021 News

Swedish Teacher Asked the Czech Labour Office for Several Months to Confirm his Earnings. He did not get Information until the Deputy Ombudsman Intervened

Even after several urgencies from the Swedish Unemployment Office, the Czech Labour Office did not provide necessary information for the assessment of unemployment benefits to the Swedish teacher. According to the Deputy Ombudsman Monika Šimůnková, the Labour Office erred by not providing the necessary data without undue delay. Due to the lack of information from the Czech Republic, the man was left without unemployment benefits for almost 8 months.

The Swedish teacher worked for a year at a Czech private school. When he applied for unemployment benefits upon his return to Sweden, the Swedish Unemployment Office contacted the Czech Labour Office to ask for proof of the man's full earnings from his employment in the Czech Republic. Without this information, Swedish officials could not calculate the benefit. Their Czech colleagues confirmed the earnings, but reported to Sweden an amount corresponding to an average monthly salary.

The applicant disagreed, however, and proved by his pay slips he earned a considerably higher ammount of money in the Czech Republic over the year. The Swedish Unemployment Office therefore asked the Czech Labour Office for clarification and additional information. He contacted Czech officials four times during 2020. However, no reply was received to messages written in English or Czech. At the beginning of this year, the Swedish teacher therefore turned to the Ombudsman.

Documents requested by the Deputy Ombudsman from the Labour Office confirmed that the Swedish Unemployment Office had requested confirmation from the Czech Labour Office of the figure marked "gross earnings during employment". The amount confirmed by the Labour Office corresponded to the "average monthly income". This is commonly used in the Czech Republic to calculate unemployment benefit.

According to the Deputy Ombudsman, the Czech Labour Office was not obliged to know how unemployment benefits were calculated in Sweden. In her view, it is understandable that it first proceeded in the manner usual for determining average earnings for the purposes of calculating unemployment benefit in the Czech Republic. However, the Deputy Ombudsman criticised the Office for its subsequent inactivity over several months, when it repeatedly failed to respond to the Swedish officials' requests and when it did not even clarify the query that they needed to know the „entire gross income for the requested period“. In her view, the Labour Office did not act in accordance with the principles of good administration - in particular the principles of timeliness and responsibility - in dealing with the complainant's case.

As the Labour Office sent the necessary information to Sweden after the Ombudsman's investigation had been initiated, the Deputy Ombudsman did not propose further remedial measures. She warned the Labour Office to avoid similar misconduct in the future.

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