The Slovenia Times

Most players welcome draft corona legislation


The ZSSS trade union association is above all worried that a wave of layoffs will roll across the country after the May Day holidays, with ZSSS president Lidija Jerkič pointing at Gorenje, where layoffs have been announced.

She told the STA that the changes to the first corona package adopted by the government resolved a number of unclarities, and praised the broadening of the circle of potential beneficiaries.

She welcomed the fact that the government clearly stated in the second draft corona package that the unemployed will not be forced to help out in the agriculture sector and that income from such work would not undercut their unemployment benefits and other social transfers.

In terms of solutions for the private sector, Jerkič said that there was not much to criticise, even saying that the bill included aspects the unions themselves had not been paying attention to, listing a number of measures she is happy with, like loosing the restrictions for state-funded furlough compensation.

She is, however, unhappy with plans for the public sector, saying that measures had not been coordinated well and that cooperation with the Labour Ministry was poor. She finds it problematic that a number of issues, including working hours, bonuses and employee transfers to different jobs are to be regulated unilaterally by the government.

The Slovenian Bank Association (ZBS) expressed support for the state guarantee scheme aiming at providing quick liquidity aid for businesses. It said, however, that the ceiling for total borrowing of a single borrower has been set too low.

The association believes that the cap should be set at 25% of total revenue in 2019 and not at 10%. It also believes that total borrowing of a borrower should be doubled compared to the current plan to reach the equivalent of double the cost in 2019.

The ZBS believes that the ceiling has been placed too low especially for micro companies and SMEs. Both proposed increases are in line with the frameworks set out in Germany, Austria and France, the association said.

It also wants the bill to specify that the payment of the guarantee will come from the budget. Under the current version of the bill, the state has a choice to pay out the guarantee from the budget or in the form of bonds.

The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) is also happy with the direction of the second stimulus package, worth EUR 2 billion. It would, however, like to see several additional measures, like rent relief measures for businesses and the possibility to defer lease payments.

The OZS said a survey it conducted showed that only a third of its members had the funds to pay out salary compensation to workers on furlough. Aid is needed immediately if jobs are to be preserved and companies saved, the OZS said.

The chamber also wants to see the share of state guarantees for micro companies and SMEs increase from 80% of capital to 90%. Similarly to the Bank Association, it wants the borrowing to be capped at 20% of last year's revenue and double the annual labour cost.

The chamber is, however, happy with the government's decision to increase the number of those who can benefit from the first anti-corona act, a EUR 3 billion stimulus package.

Environmental NGOs were meanwhile critical of measures aimed at simplifying administrative procedures in construction. They said that the government had opened doors wide for investors and wants to allow projects taking place in the next years without oversight from the public.

More than 40 NGOs said in a joint statement that the demands which environmental NGOs will have to meet to be able to have a say were nearly impossible to meet. "Almost no NGO would be able to meet the conditions set, especially because they would be required to have met them two years ago."

The conditions include that associations must have at least 50 active members who pay their membership fees regularly and take part in assemblies, while institutes must have at least three full-time employees with university education in NGO operations, and institutions must have at least EUR 10,000 in assets to be able to take part in procedures.

The opposition Left is also critical of these conditions and has said it will strive for the deletion of this article from the bill in parliamentary procedure, which is expected to start soon.


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