Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL), hopes that by the end of the year, people can apply for all social benefits online without needing to visit the labor offices physically. These offices have long faced criticism for their inability to process and disburse applications promptly. Jurečka also aims to improve the remuneration system and handle half of the applications online within two years.
There are approximately 9,700 pending applications for housing benefits within the ministry. These applications have exceeded the legally mandated processing period of 30 days. However, according to Karel Trpkoš, the acting CEO of the Czech Labor Office, significant progress has been made in reducing the processing time in recent months. For example, compared to the second half of 2022, when it took over 100 days to process housing benefit applications in Prague, the current processing time is approximately one month.
“It is not because the number of applications has significantly decreased, but rather due to measures we have implemented that have led to a more streamlined and efficient operation of the office,” said Trpkoš.
Jurečka mentioned his intention to digitize the work of labor offices and handle half of the benefits online during a Sunday interview on ČT (Czech Television).
During a press conference on Monday, Jurečka and Trpkoš stated that they plan to motivate employees and improve their working conditions through better financial compensation. They aim to create a better environment for those working in labor offices and provide higher wages for those who perform well. This ambition currently applies to approximately 3,500 employees, expected to increase yearly to ensure recognition for their work. The long-term goal is to stabilize and make work in labor offices more attractive.
Trpkoš explained that performance-based and motivational rewards have already been implemented, and individual branches collaborate and assist each other more effectively. “These principles have led to the improved performance of the office, with the entire country assisting Prague in many cases. Consequently, the number of days needed to process applications has dramatically decreased,” added Trpkoš.