Czech ministries jointly drafting plan to fight unemployment
Several Czech ministries, not just the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, are most probably going to jointly work on designing the government's plan for the fight against unemployment. The Czech News Agency reports that Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová Tominová (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) said she is already putting together a team that will include people from her ministry as well as representatives of the Education Ministry and the Trade and Industry Ministry.
Last Saturday Czech President Miloš Zeman held a debate at the presidential residence in Lány on how to eliminate unemployment with his advisers, the Labor Minister, and her predecessor, František Koníček. "Addressing unemployment is not just a matter for the Labor Ministry. It concerns each and every ministry in some way. We need to stop compartmentalizing. Without close coordination nothing will be resolved," the Labor Minister believes.
Marksová presented her own plan at Saturday's meeting with the head of state. The result of the team's work should be a new strategy for how the Czech Republic proceeds in the fight against high unemployment.
The plan should include specific steps. The Czech Republic is currently experiencing record unemployment.
The highest rates yet were reported in January, when the authorities had 629 300 unemployed people on the rolls. In February that number fell by almost 4 000.
While the second month of the year is ordinarily worse than the first for unemployment, this year the situation was improved by the mild winter. The Labor Office is anticipating that the number of unemployed persons will further decline in the months to come, mainly thanks to seasonal work.
Analysts believe there will be a slow revival of the economy, with a more significant acceleration visible by next year. Marksová said last Friday she would strive to further enhance the country's Labor Offices.
Two years ago, local Labor Offices began disbursing all welfare payments, not just unemployment insurance, and did not manage to fully dedicate themselves to the issue of facilitating hiring and addressing unemployment in general. The number of officials working locally therefore began to rise this year, with a total of 700 more people expected to join the Labor Office staff.
There are 66 jobs with local Labor Offices still waiting to be staffed. Once the first round of expansion is complete, Marksová would like to push through the addition of several hundred more staffers to the local offices as well.
More money from the Czech budget and from the EU should be invested in job-creation programs, according to current plans. Firms, for example, would be given contributions toward wages for young first-time workers.
Education and professional preparations could also help meet the needs of the labor market. The Labor Offices should also start communicating with businesses more.
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