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Prime Minister Jose Sokrates has announced in the Portuguese Parliament that the time span during which an individual has worked required to qualify for unemployment benefit will be reduced for a limited period in order to soften the effects of the current economic crisis, Jornal de Negocios reports.
Sokrates said in the House "the government will until the end of 2010 and as an extraordinary measure extend the conditions for access to unemployment benefit to those people who have worked for at least 365 working days during the 24-month period before they became unemployed."
Under normal circumstances, Portuguese workers are required to have worked for at least 450 days during the two years before their unemployment in order to qualify for unemployment benefit.
The measure is designed to help temporary and contract workers as well as permanent employees who would not qualify under the usual regulation to get through the recession. It is a temporary measure supposed to end in 2010 but could be extended.
The Prime Minister made no mention of wanting to change any other unemployment benefit related regulation, such as the period for which unemployment benefit is paid and the amount of it.