PM promises steps to tackle SMEs’ problems

Branko Meh, the head of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), noted that small business represents 99.3% of the Slovenian economy.

"This is why we deserve special attention from the government," he said, noting signs of economic slowdown, which he said could impact greatly on Slovenian entrepreneurs.

The chamber demands measures to make their work easier, including changes to employment and retirement legislation, tackling administrative barriers and sorting out claims for compensation from the public health and pension insurance managers in case of occupational disease or work injuries.

The chamber proposes increasing employer contributions for injury at work or occupational disease. These funds would then be ring-fenced to finance damages claims that employers now face.

Meh offered a concrete example of an employee at a small business who got injured doing a chore after the end of working time. "The health insurer demanded 75,000 euro from the entrepreneur nevertheless. Since he didn't have that money, he had to close down his business."

Another of the chamber's demands is reducing social contributions, which Meh said made Slovenia uncompetitive.

Šarec told OZS members that the government was well aware of their problems. "We cannot say nothing has been done; we have certainly made small steps to improve the situation."

He pledged for the government to continue to improve the situation for entrepreneurs, but also said that he could not promise quick solutions because of the demanding coordination involved.

Commenting on claims for damages for injuries, Šarec said that he expected the matter would be resolved, saying that it involved "changing one word in the law".

"The government will remain aware that it's small business which creates in this country; which contributes a fair share of GDP. We've so far been used to keep busy with big systems, possibly those that were privatised but then failed. I'm glad those stories are no longer in the spotlight," said Šarec.