Bratislava, August 5 (TASR) – Almost €2.476 billion was paid out from the so-called ‘First Aid’ scheme designed to maintain employment during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Milan Krajniak (We Are Family) told a press conference on Friday, presenting a Social Policy Institute (ISP) analysis, with ISP head Stefan Domonkos in attendance.
A total of 55,000 employers and 131,000 individual self-employed people were supported. The ‘First Aid’ project helped to preserve 770,000 jobs.
According to Krajniak, the Labour Ministry supported employers and sole traders by paying out 5.7 million monthly salaries to more than 770,000 employees. According to him, the ‘First Aid’ scheme represents the largest aid for employment protection ever, which every third Slovak citizen personally felt.
“The ISP analysis proves that during the pandemic the Labour Ministry was the most successful body in delivering state aid to employers, employees and self-employed people. We kept jobs so that Slovak families could ensure income for their households through work,” said the labour minister.
Krajniak further said that the most successful aid scheme was the 3A measure, so-called ‘kurzarbeit’ (short-time work), which became an inspiration for a permanent job protection tool in the form of the law on support during short-time work. According to him, employers have been receiving financial assistance based on this mechanism since March 2022.
According to Domonkos, the use of financial aid was dominated by micro-enterprises. “The share of micro-enterprises in the total disbursed ‘First Aid’ was close to half, while towards the end of the monitored period, the use of aid by micro-enterprises swelled to two-thirds of the total amount of monthly allowances,” noted Domonkos.
Domonkos added that, the ISP analysis showed that companies which received ‘First Aid’ were, on average, more productive and less indebted than companies that didn’t receive the aid. Analysts observed a positive effect on employment, especially in small companies (up to 50 employees).