Unemployment benefits are payments made by the country or separate accredited bodies to unemployed citizen. Benefits may be supported on a essential para-governmental insurance system. Depending on the power and the state of the person, those sums may be smaller, covering exclusive fundamental needs (thus a form of basic welfare), or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the preceding attained salary.

Unemployment benefits are mostly exclusive to those registering as unemployed, and often times on conditions ensuring that they seek work and do not currently have a job.

In several countries, a significant balance of unemployment benefits are distributed by trade/labor unions, a provision identified as the Ghent system.

A trade union (British English) or labor union (American English) is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining) with employers.

The Ghent system is the name given to an arrangement in some countries whereby the main responsibility for welfare payments, especially unemployment benefits, is held by trade/labor unions, rather than a government agency.

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