Start of campaign for reducing number of undeclared workers

Support in creating policies and mechanisms that will reduce the number of undeclared workers is one of the main priorities of the Economic and Social Council (ESC). In order to improve this segment, ESC, through the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Organization of Employers of Macedonia and the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia today launched a campaign to raise awareness of the negative impact of undeclared work on the economy and society.

“The government is taking systemic solutions that give results and enable the formalization of the informal economy. The analyzes show a favorable trend of decline in informal economy in the official GDP, and I believe that this trend will continue as a result of several processes that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the Government are undertaking to reduce the informal economy. In that direction, we have prepared a Strategy for formalization of informal work for the period 2018-2022 in order to create a comprehensive and consistent system for effective reduction of informal employees. “I am convinced that this campaign will make a significant contribution to raising public awareness of the benefits of formal work and thus workers to become part of the system,” said Jagoda Shahpaska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy.

The whole project is funded by the European Union, and the press conference was attended by Freek Janmaat, Head of Operations Department at the European Delegation in Skopje, who noted: “Hiring undeclared workers creates unequal conditions for labour market participants, and people who work in this way for various reasons can not exercise their rights. In order to reverse this phenomenon, we must work together and create a strong systemic framework.”

And to ensure a systemic approach, it is necessary to strengthen the control and sanction those who do not comply with labor regulations.

“The State Labor Inspectorate, based on the conducted field inspections and analysis of reports, develops and improves the tools for dealing with and suppressing informal work. The analysis concluded that the repressive policy did not yield satisfactory results in dealing with informal work and its transformation into formal employment and therefore labor legislation underwent changes with an emphasis on prevention before repressive measures. “SLI will continue with its activities aimed at protecting employment rights, but also the formalization of informal work as a final effect in the fight against informal economy.”, said Jovana Trenchevska, director of the State Labor Inspectorate.

An important goal of this campaign is to further promote workers’ rights and their effective protection.

“SSM is involved in all activities to reduce and eliminate all the causes that cause informal employment. However, the reduction of the informal economy and its negative consequences can be expected only through the implementation of integrated and joint activities of all institutions in the country. “We appeal to workers to use the new free mobile application SSM – my labor rights which we developed together with the International Labor Organization, through which workers can anonymously report a violated labor right for themselves and another person,” said Darko Dimovski, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia.

The President of the Organization of Employers of Macedonia, Vladanka Trajkovska also attended the press conference, and she emphasized: “Reducing the informal economy is a key step in establishing a predictable and stable business environment and a level playing field and healthy competition for employers who work and obey the law.” The formalization of the informal economy and the elimination of tax evasion will lead to an increase in tax revenues, and thus the opportunity for the state and institutions to provide better services and greater social security for citizens.”

Along with the beginning of the campaign, a new pilot measure was promoted to reduce the undeclared work in the tourist and catering facilities.   The measure is designed to cover part of the social security contributions and ensure support in the implementation of administrative procedures. The measure will enable simpler “borrowing” of employees between two tourist and catering facilities, as well as the opportunity for additional training so as to acquire appropriate skills. This measure will be piloted in the hotel and catering sector in Ohrid and Struga. Part of the measure is an online platform for connecting employers and workers, through which workers will apply and and vacancies in the hotel and catering sector in Ohrid and Struga will be posted.

In order to enable greater promotion and informing the public about this pilot measure, local promotions will be organized in Ohrid and Struga.

The campaign is implemented by the Economic and Social Council in cooperation with the project Strengthening the social dialogue, implemented by the International Labor Organization and funded by the European Union.