Bratislava, January 8 (TASR) – Promoting employment growth, multiple changes in social and legal protection for children, introducing pre-retirement, and improving help for people with disabilities are just a few of the areas that the Labour Ministry headed by Jan Richter (Smer-SD) will address this year.
Employment policy will be a priority for the Labour Ministry in 2018. “The socio-economic position of families and individuals is primarily a result of this, which is then linked to the third phase – pension policy, so that retirees can also live decently in the autumn of their lives,” Richter told TASR.
According to the minister, filling vacant posts remains a challenge. “This is now our biggest challenge, as investors are still very interested in Slovakia. Records show that 45 percent of jobseekers are unemployed for more than a year, and less than 33 percent have completed only a basic education or haven’t even completed any school. These are mostly people without working habits who need different, more systemic assistance than others,” said Richter, adding that last year the ministry prepared a Social Economy and Social Companies Act, which should come into force as of May 1 of this year.
Retraining programmes are also being prepared. The ministry will also continue to carry out employment support projects from the European Social Fund, targeting young people under 29, the long-term unemployed and people over 50. Richter also reiterated measures that were announced several times by the governing Smer-SD party within the new social package. These include raising salaries, introducing pre-retirement, increasing bonuses for work and continuing to fight social dumping.
The minister also stated that the measures adopted in 2017 have produced several positive results. As one example he mentioned changes in the principle of merit regarding the material needs system. An increase in motivation to find employment even for a lower salary is in place. “The number of people in material need has been halved over a number of years, and the situation is improving owing to increased social transfers, and, in particular, rising employment,” stated Richter.