The Slovenia Times

Businesses, unions largely happy with EUR 2bn "coronapackage"


The stimulus package reflects the needs of the economy and our recommendations, and largely brings effective, swift and simple measures, Boštjan Gorjup, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), said in a video address.

"We welcome the fact that the state is aware of the seriousness of the situation the Slovenian economy has found itself in," he said, adding the liquidity crunch would be mitigated by the state's assuming the payment of social contributions and sick leave and with the planned guarantee scheme for liabilities of Slovenian companies.

The GZS hopes the measures will be implemented as soon as possible with as few setbacks as possible, said Gorjup, but added it expected the next stimulus package to set up a mechanism for crediting companies and insuring exports.

Similarly, the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) said the government showed it was aware the fitness of economy was key to how fast Slovenia recovers from the epidemic.

OZS boss Branko Meh was happy to note in a release the government had taken into account the OZS's proposal to write off social contributions for the self-employed for a certain period of time in entirety and for the self-employed affected during the epidemic to get a compensation.

The state paying pension contributions for workers working during the crisis was also welcomed, and so was the ZZZS public health fund covering the entire sick leave.

The OZS also praised a set of measures designed to provide liquidity, including a guarantee scheme enabling purchase of liabilities and a freeze on tax payment.

However, Meh would like the state to cover not just 80% but 100% of the pay of workers temporarily laid off.

He expects the next package to bring "even more concrete measures against payment default, and direct financial incentives for the most severely affected lines of business".

The Pergam association of trade union welcomed the package for focussing on preserving jobs, which presents a solid basis for economic activity after the epidemic.

Its head Jakob Počivavšek sees a combination of measures to prevent layoffs and preserve at least a comparable level of income as a positive development.

He believes this is important to preserve purchasing power and private consumption, but urged additional measures to protect the health of those who continue to work.

However, a group fighting against precariousness said the measures planned for the self-employed were a step in the right direction, but would need to be studied further to see if they really covered all precarious workers and students.

Borut Brezar, head of the Movement for Decent Work and Welfare Society, is worried the self-employed in culture could have been omitted.

He also said that "many students have written to us saying student work is their only means of livelihood, so they do not know how they will buy food or pay the rent".

For the crisis-stricken self-employed, the government plans a payment of monthly basic income to the tune of 70% of the minimum wage, write-off of social contributions, and a deferral of advance tax payment for 2020.

But Asociacija, an NGO representing the self-employed and NGOs in culture, believes the 70% compensation in fact encourages unemployment.

If a self-employed culture worker registers as unemployed, he or she will get around EUR 550 a month as opposed to the EUR 460 compensation, said its head Inga Remeta.

There are some 3,050 self-employed in the cultural sector, ranging from artists and translators to critics and technicians.

The GLOSA trade union will also aim for more, saying the self-employed in culture should get 80% of the anticipated income if their events had not been cancelled.

Its head Mitja Šuštar believes the stimulus package should also cover public cultural institutions, especially if they obtain part of their income on the market.


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