MPs to pass new anti-coronacrisis legislation

Ljubljana – The National Assembly is expected to pass on Thursday the fifth package of anti-coronavirus legislation, extending several measures in place to mitigate the effects of the crisis brought on by the pandemic, and introducing additional ones. The appointment of the new agriculture minister is also on the agenda.

The package, estimated at EUR 420 million, spans across a number of fields, including labour, healthcare and social security.

Employers have welcomed an extension until the end of the year of the state furlough subsidies and pay compensation for workers in quarantine. The bill also introduces pay compensation for parents taking care of a child who has been quarantined.

Under the bill, sole proprietors will once again be eligible for monthly basic income, a measure that was already in place in the spring.

The state will provide funds for personal protective equipment and other equipment for public health institutions and care homes.

It will also cover loss of income for these institutions due to vacant capacities and provide for additional bonuses for staff.

The bill aims to bring some relief to the healthcare system by allowing up to three days of compensated sick leave three times a year without having to see a GP.

Everybody with health insurance will be eligible to get a flu shot free of charge.

There are also provisions, criticised by the opposition, that provide the legal basis for restrictions on freedom of assembly anywhere, including in private premises. Several inspectorates will oversee compliance, while the police force will get additional powers.

The National Assembly will also vote on the appointment of Jože Podgoršek for the new agriculture minister.

Podgoršek, currently a state secretary at the ministry, has been put forward by the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) after Aleksandra Pivec resigned as agriculture minister and left the party ten days ago.

He was unanimously endorsed by the parliamentary Agriculture Committee on Monday.

In his hearing before the committee, Podgoršek said that, if appointed, he would aim to boost food self-sufficiency and focus on sustainable development, efforts to ensure safe food, and effective phasing of EU funds.