Government group calls for jobs saving framework for crisis hit companies
The government working group tasked with cushioning the impact of the Ukraine crisis and escalating sanctions on Czech companies has proposed state help for firms putting employees on short-time work as its main recommendation. The group argues such help could avoid massive lay-offs if the worst happens with the framework in place for future emergencies as well as the current one.
The concept basically covers a three way agreement between the state, companies and employees under which the government agrees to aid hard hit firms which choose to put workers on short-time rather than reverting to major lay-offs.
Unlike many other European countries, the Czech Republic has so far lacked a framework for how this aid could be given. Tomáš Pouza is the Secretary of State for European Affairs and has been in charge of putting together the plans for the emergency help. I asked him first of all what jobs losses are already threatened.
The framework of help for companies forced to introduce short-time working, how quick and how wide will that framework be?
“What the government wants to do is to help companies deal with any kind of crisis, be it the current sanctions or be it natural disasters, when they lose part of their production or they lose part of their export opportunities. The goal is they will keep on the employees, not have to let them go. So the government would subsidise part of their wages so the employees could work part time but still receive full-time pay on two conditions. These are that there is a major impact outside the company’s control, be it sanctions or major disaster, and the second condition is that the employees go to a training or education course so that they improve their capacities and that when they get back to work they will be a bigger asset to their employers.”
And will all the help come from the Czech state or will there be European funds used as well?
How confident are you that this will be in place as some employers want by the start of next year?
“Currently there are other changes to the employment law being discussed in parliament, so if we act quickly we can add these changes to the discussion currently under way. If we manage to do that within roughly the next three weeks then all the changes could be in force by January next year. So, I think we are pretty confident. We know how to carry out the changes technically so we will now spend about three weeks with the political discussion just to confirm that this is the way to go. ”