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Govt adopts two pieces of three-piece labour reform

Govt adopts two pieces of three-piece labour reform
The government adopted changes to the labour market regulation act and the labour inspection act after finally reaching a deal with social partners. The third piece of the package, changes to the employment relationship act, is expected to be agreed with social partners by the end of the month.

Labour Minister Anja Kopač Mrak said after the government session that changes to the labour inspection act addressed two major problems - precarious forms of work and the powers of the Labour Inspectorate in case of non-payment of wages.

Precarious forms of work are increasingly prevalent, not only in Slovenia but in the entire Europe, Kopač Mrak said, noting that the bill clearly stated an employment contract must be concluded for work which contained all elements of an employment relationship.

Since this does not happen many times, the law now clearly stipulates that an inspector can order to an employer to offer such a worker a contract within three days. "Penalties are determined if [the employer] fails to do so."

The changes also give the Labour Inspectorate powers in case of non-payment of wages, which according to the minister has been one of the most frequent violations since 2009. The purpose of the changes is not to close such companies, but to prevent the recurring practice by certain employers, she said.

The adopted changes to the labour market regulation act are perhaps even more important, given the situation on the labour market, Kopač Mrak said, adding that Slovenia was facing a shortage of labour force, with the key question being how to activate unemployed persons.

One of the measures aimed at activating unemployed people is the obligation of a dismissed worker to report to the Employment Service within the notice period in order to immediately launch the procedure of finding a new job, she explained.

Another important element in a provision allowing low-skilled persons whose professions are not among in high demand to receive 20% of unemployment benefit for a maximum of 12 months when they find a job.

"By doing so we are encouraging people to get employed and we are addressing the issue of minimum wage," Kopač Mrak said.

She expressed hope that the government and social partners will find common ground on changes to the labour relationship act, the most controversial piece of legislation in the package due to a provision that would allow employers to fire workers for incompetence.

After Thursday's talks, social partners agreed that they would continue negotiating and try to reach a consensus by 27 June, the Labour Ministry has told the STA./IBNA

Source: The Slovenia Times

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