Unemployed in Iceland to get Christmas bonus

The Icelandic government has approved a request for job seekers in the country to be paid a Christmas bonus again this year.

Welfare minister Guðbjartur Hannesson put the motion forward to the cabinet and it was approved.

The Christmas bonus is more accurately called a December Wage Supplement and is a part of union wage contracts. It is a predetermined, set amount of money paid to almost all employees in the expensive month of December each year.

Job seekers with full benefits rights will receive ISK 63,457 (EUR 395.03) extra this December to help with Christmas. The total extra cost to the government is expected to be a one-off ISK 600-650 million (EUR 3.73-4.05 million), Vísir.is reported. Job seekers were also paid a Christmas bonus last year, for the first time since December 2005.

The government’s decision is in accordance with its commitment made this spring when national wage contracts were made with trades unions. At that time the government committed to allow pensioners and job seekers to enjoy the same contract improvements as had been agreed for the working public.

The figure breaks down therefore to an original ISK 48,457 per person in December Wage Supplement, plus an extra ISK 15,000 top-up which was agreed this spring with employees’ unions.

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