Business News

Labour Ministry to Promote Flexibility

Ljubljana, 07 June (STA) - The Labour Ministry focuses on the protection of the most vulnerable population groups in the legislation for 2009, 2010 and 2011, earmarking EUR 1.25bn more in this period than in 2008. In the future, however, the ministry will promote flexibility of the labour market.

The main purpose of the ministry's activities so far has been to alleviate the social consequences of the crisis, Labour, the Family and Social Affairs Minister Ivan Svetlik told the press in Ljubljana on Monday.

He announced that in the future, social security would have to be "backed up by structural changes" aimed at increasing the flexibility of the labour market.

The planned labour market legislation and the reform of the pension system will be aimed at improving flexibility and increasing working activity, he noted.

The most funds will be allocated for regulating the labour market and employment, some EUR 756.6m more than in 2008. Some EUR 230.3m more will be spent on active policy of employment, EUR 46.6m more will go for state scholarships and another EUR 348.2m more for unemployment benefits.

The ministry earmarked EUR 57.2m for working time subsidies, estimating that some 8000 jobs were saved through the measure. Another EUR 60.3m went for partial compensation for temporary redundant workers, saving about 17,000 jobs.

As part of a measure promoting employment and self-employment, some 3,500 jobs were saved through subsidies in the amount of EUR 14m.

For the protection of the disabled, EUR 3.7m more was allocated, while a project promoting employment of the disabled worth EUR 16.5m was cancelled.

Some EUR 230m more funds was allocated for various welfare benefits, EUR 60.6m of which went for social benefits and EUR 13.7m for a one-off bonus for the poor. Funds for various family benefits will increase by EUR 246m.

The consequences of an increase in the minimum wage and the effect of changes to the employment relationships act have not been included in the EUR 1.25bn sum. Under the amendments to the employment relationships act, workers will get EUR 27.8m less due to shorter notice periods and EUR 50m less due to lower severance pay.

Social partners will discuss the amendments again on Tuesday. The minister announced a change in the government proposal toda. He said that lower severance pay would be tied to the passing of the bill regulating the labour market which will raise unemployment beefits for the first three months and slightly expand the number of those eligible to it.

Svetlik said the employment relationships act will undergo a more thorough overhaul by the end of the year.

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