The Icelandic Confederation of University Graduates (BHM) has called for the government to raise the maximum income-related unemployment benefits and extend the deadline to apply for these benefits so that the financial security of those who have lost their jobs due to the recession caused by the coronavirus epidemic can be improved.
An announcement from BHM states that it is necessary to increase the basic amount of unemployment benefits. The average full employment benefits are currently 289,510. They also consider it important to enable jobseekers to go back to school without impairing their access to unemployment benefits. Finally, BHM considers it urgent that the government take specific measures to ensure the subsistence of artists, especially since the epidemic and the measures put in place as a result of the epidemic have shaken the core of the arts community.
“University-educated people who are currently losing their jobs will suffer a major financial shock, according to BHM’s calculations,” the announcement reads. “If we look at a simple comparison between the average total wage in employment and unemployment benefits, it can be seen that a university-educated specialist who anticipates unemployment for one year loses about 335 thousand ISK in disposable income on average per month when they lose their job. This is equivalent to an average 55% reduction in income on an annual basis.”
It is worth noting that as of this writing, more than 4,500 university-educated individuals are currently unemployed. This is roughly 85% more than in the wake of the economic collapse of 2009.
As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!