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Guest: Ivan Svetlik, PhD, Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia

On today’s Business breakfast Minister Svetlik warned about the necessity of reforms and changes. He spoke about flexibility of the labor market, employment security and about reforms that will follow.

After introductory speech by Executive Director of AmCham Ajša Vodnik, MSc, followed the speech of Ivan Svetlik, PhD, concerning structural reforms that should be adopted this year and implemented next year. He emphasized that some European states will come out of crises more quickly and others later due to problems and tensions that have accumulated in societies within past years. Slovenia plans to be among the first so the structural reforms are important. These will be adopted in the field of social security, labor market, labor relations and in the field of pensions. Intense conversations with trade unions are taking place and those who are preparing reforms are trying to convince trade unions about the necessity of reforms, if Slovenia wants to join the group of most developed European countries. Minister Svetlik also mentioned that he wishes that also employers would be more active. In his opinion, too often they are only waiting and they contribute no evidences or proposals.

Changes on the labor market:

– Motto is flexicurity – balance between security and flexibility – some believe that Slovenia lacks both so we are preparing several acts that will be introduced before parliament

– Minimum Wage Act – currently under implementation, minimum wage in the past wasn’t sufficient to cover cost of living

– Employment Relationships Act: first step toward changes – the problem with termination of employment; second step – implemented in 2011, in-depth changes in labor relations, we don’t want to take the benefits away from workers (such as paid lunch), but to make labor relations more flexible, higher job and company mobility, fewer administrative barriers, we want to ensure more job opportunities, these changes are in discussion.

– Employment Relationships Act will thus offer security to those changing their employment, but it provides also new programs to help young population find employment, help for companies and help for employees whose jobs are at risk.

– Mini Work Act: regulation of moonlighting, companies want less regulation, but trade unions see this act as competition to current contractual employment, with the new act students will have some social rights which they didn’t have until now, impact on companies for hiring of this type of labor will be slightly higher costs.

– Changes for Severance fund: planned in 2011, most probably we will implement Austrian model.

These changes require a lot of money, there are many interests and stakeholders, such as with Mini Work Act, as Student services do not want additional costs, but the government wants these to be non-profit organizations rather than for-profit as so far. This is the cause for such reactions. Mr. Svetlik believes that student services and student organizations activated young people for demonstrations and incidents on Wednesday, 19th of May 2010 before the parliament in Ljubljana.


Nataša Bukanovsky Kosi, Chairmen of Labor Committee of AmCham Slovenia: “You have mentioned low flexibility in Slovenia. Members of AmCham are experts on the areas where these reforms will be adopted. They also think that existing regulation is not flexible and they expect changes. They prepared several proposals for changes and presented them to the Ministry: reduction of days for annual leave, reduction of reimbursements and implementation of the act allowing awards for job performance. Can you assure us that our proposals will be reviewed and considered when these reforms will be adopted?”

Mr. Svetlik, PhD: »We will review and consider them, proposals will be checked and we will respond to appeals, because you want specific changes – days for annual leave, social partners must harmonize their demands for minimum and maximum standards, doctors during their annual leaves work elsewhere, such deviations in various areas aren’t wanted. “

Bojana Novak, company Veyance Technologies Europe: “Social contributions: what are the plans for implementation of system for supervision of paying the contributions?”

Mr. Svetlik, PhD: » Individuals are not affected due to not paid contributions. Regulation is for the companies in troubles, they don’t have to pay the contributions right away, but this is not a proper solution. Approximately 3% of all contributions is not paid, which isn’t much. We want to improve this system. A new pension reform will define how these contributions must be paid and how these payments must be visible to employees. “

Alja Gazvoda, from Merck, Sharp & Dohme d.o.o., mini work area: “Employers are employing many students who are working only for shorter working hours, because they want to finish their studies. We still want to offer these students the possibility to start working for companies and to learn about the business because the faculties don’t teach them about this. Regulation foresees maximum 14 working hours per week – this doesn’t seem enough for us. They need experiences and also time for study. Employers want young and talented people, want to give them chance to learn and prove themselves.”

Mr. Svetlik, PhD: »The difference is between studying and working, according to Bologna reform study programs will include more practice, but “mini work” cannot solve all problems and needs of employers, for students 14 hours per week is not a restraint, they can work up to 720 hours per year which doesn’t restrict them per week. Student status is first status, where their rights are taken from. Working hours may not be longer. Mini work is an important source of practical experiences. Act is foreseeing also recording of these experiences, so the students will be able to use them as reference. This act will impose limitation for companies.

Dejan Turk, Vice President of AmCham Slovenia and Chairman of the management board of Simobil told to
Minister Svetlik that AmCham supports reforms. He said: “You mentioned job flexibility 5 times; we hope as well that new act will enable more flexibility and higher job mobility. A worker in

Sponsor of Business breakfast was company Adecco H.R. d.o.o., that this year celebrates 10th Anniversary of its activity in Slovenia.