Action Plan Announced to Curb Precarious Work


Almost 40% of active working population already are in atypical forms of employment, Cerar said, adding that the government was advocating safe flexibility or flexicurity on the labour market.

"The era of precarious forms of work represents many challenges, leading to lower pay and emergence of a new social class," Cerar said, as many can no longer live on their earnings.

"We all know we need to introduce a more flexible labour market. It's an inevitability," the PM said, but added that agreement was needed to introduce the changes with stronger legal an social security.

The government project group will use conclusions from today's debate to draw up an action plan with Cerar hoping a government action plan to be ready on that basis this year to set out policies to curb growth in precarious work forms.

Creating an employment-stimulating environment and flexicurity on the labour market was one of the pledges in the coalition agreement. "This commitment of ours still stands. The path won't be easy, but I hope it will be successful," Cerar said.

Segmentation of the labour market has been witnessed in Slovenia for the past 15, 16 years, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Anja Kopač Mrak said, pointing to a gap between open-ended employment contracts and other forms of employment.

Despite some progress owing to the 2013 labour market reform, the minister called for more effort to tackle the problem. Segmentation was reduced by five percentage points and more youths are in safe jobs.

The minister also called for continuing with the every work counts principle as part of a comprehensive tax reform so that social contributions are paid from various forms of job, while reducing labour taxation.

The debate also heard a call for unifying now different interpretations of precarious work as well as for raising awareness among employers and employees.

The head of the government task force, Marko Funkl, warned that precarious jobs put pressure on all earnings, including those for regular employment as employers are counting on flexible workforce in the long term.

Greater flexibility also means lesser inclusion into trade unions, so these atomised groups of workers have it harder to form dialogue with the government, said Funkl, president of the Movement for Decent Work and Welfare State, welcoming the formation of the government project group for the field.

To tackle the problem of self-employed who earn at least 80% of their annual income from a single company, Funkl suggested imposing a reverse burden of proof inspectors could fine the employers in case of covert employment.

He argued that Slovenia was a leading EU country by proportion of the self-employed and their increase. One third of such people live below the poverty line and many cannot afford to take sick leave, he said.

However, Labour Ministry State Secretary Peter Pogačar said that Slovenia was not the only country facing the problem and that the ministry was no longer stimulating self-employment.

Like Pogačar, Chief Labour Inspector Nataša Trček said that a solution was not in legislative changes, but rather in raising the awareness as many precarious workers did not know they met conditions for regular employment.

She said inspectors faced a difficult task with 200,000 business entities in Slovenia, 170,000 of which employ fewer than nine people.

The problem of regular work disguised as self-employment is critical in the media among journalists, as well as in culture, while student work was abused in similar way to hire youth, the debate also heard.