Speaking on RTVS’s programme ‘Sobotne dialogy’ (Saturday Dialogues), Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (We Are Family) said that it’s in the interests of the state to help employers and sole-traders even after the economy is reopened.
“We want to pay out money that we’ve managed to draw from EU funds not only now when the crisis is at its height. We want to help sole-traders and employers to maintain jobs even after the economy is reopened. We’ll continue to help further,” said Krajniak. The Government is only considering a mechanism for providing such aid along with the gradual reopening of the economy.
The labour minister stated that Slovakia is doing better than surrounding countries, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, in terms of providing such aid during the coronavirus crisis. He believes that the payment of aid in May will be faster, as employers who have applied for it won’t have to submit applications again but only statements.
The Government is discussing the permanent introduction of so-called ‘kurzarbeit’ (short-time work) which is also being used during the current coronavirus crisis. “We’d like to adapt this tool to the Slovak situation. In Western Europe the system operates in such a way that both the employer and employee contribute part of their levies to kurzarbeit, and if a crisis comes, the employee isn’t laid off. They get something like a special allowance. We’ve been talking to employers and trade unions for weeks on how to implement this or a very similar system,” said Krajniak.
Vice-chairman of the parliamentary social committee Jan Richter described kurzarbeit as a crisis tool. According to him, in the past the state also contributed to companies to maintain jobs. He also claimed that the former government handed over a “clear desk” to the new one. “Social affairs were resolved, we had the lowest unemployment,” said Richter. “The figures are cautionary, large companies aren’t dismissing people, but smaller ones, the self-employed, limited liability companies, will react in this way. It was a fundamental mistake that solutions were offered in an over-optimistic manner at the beginning,” said Richter.