The recent statement by PM Aleksandar Vučić who said that, since 2007, Serbia had never had such a low unemployment rate as now which dropped to 16% for the first time ever, evoked various reactions from the public. The PM also added that the reason for that was not only economic growth by also better work done by labour inspectors who had managed to prompt the workers to transition from working in the black and gray economy to being legally employed, as they did for seasonal workers too. According to the Prime Minister, the employment rate had gone up by 3.2% compared to the previous quarter and the same quarter last year.
„We believe that the unemployment rate in Serbia will reach 17% in October and will not exceed that percentage” – Vučić underlined. He added that the Serbian government’s aim, after four terms, was to reduce the unemployment rate to the EU average – 11.5%. „I believe that we are going to succeed in that“, Vučić said.
The Prime Minister also underlined that youth employment went up to 19.7% while, in the same quarter last year, this percentage stood at 16. The State Statistical Office confirms that Prime Minister announced the correct results from the preliminary labour survey covering the Q2 of this year which will be publicly released on 31st August.
„According to the labour survey, the number of employed persons in the period from Q1 2014 to Q1 2016 grew by 117,000. The formal employment went up by 79,000, while the informal one went up by 38,000. In the same period, unemployment dropped by 61,000“ – the State Statistical Office says.
In the period between 26th April, 2014 and 31st July, 2016, the labour inspection carried out 115,128 controls of labour issues and work health & safety – says the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“In this period, we found 29,720 unregistered workers with 24,509 of them becoming legally employed shortly after the inspectors carried out the relevant controls. However, according to the Central Registry of Mandatory Social Insurance, the National Employment Office, the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, and the State Statistical Office, the number of registered workers is much higher. However, following the inspections, the employers started registering their workers in much higher numbers.
Since the implementation of the Law on Inspection Oversight, which began in July 2015, the labour inspectors found 852 unregistered companies (including small businesses) that had 851 unregistered workers. Most of these companies are engaged in retail, catering, personal services, repair and maintenance of vehicles, wood processing and construction work. The labour inspectors also discovered unregistered nurseries, betting shops and old people’s homes. In the said period, the number of registered companies grew by over 4,000 which also contributed to the higher tax revenue for the state budget and social insurance funds.
Around 485 million Dinars was paid into the Serbian budget on the account of labour fines alone, following the control conducted by the labour inspectors. Additionally, 36.1 million Dinars was paid on the account of misdemeanor charges filed by the inspectors.
Combing through in three shifts
Regardless of a low number of available labour inspectors, they have been achieving increasingly good results. Inspectors often catch employers by surprise, conducting their controls in late evenings. They are not that easy to spot since their work is not predictable and they are usually controlling employers not only in their home towns, but also in neighbouring ones.
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