Due to the current crisis caused by the coronavirus, about 125,000 workers are on forced leave in Serbia, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, while about 20,000 have returned to work.
Furthermore, about 1,600 companies have had to suspend production or reduce it significantly and almost 950 companies have been blocked following the declaration of the state of emergency. In the last few days, the Serbian economy has slightly “thawed out”, some sectors are starting to function and even this statistical picture is slowly changing.
The president of the Union of Serbian Economists, Aleksandar Vlahovic, has estimated that a large part of the economy is currently in hibernation.
“In other words, as a result of the pandemic, many companies have been forced to drastically reduce their business or shut it down altogether. A large number of companies have organized their work from home and in this way, they have managed to overcome the curfew and the ban on the free movement of people,” said Vlahovic, adding that Serbia can expect a slight economic recovery in the last quarter of this year.
Experience shows that the first to be affected were part-time employees, as well as workers hired through recruitment agencies and seasonal workers, contract employees and temporary workers. In this situation, employers try to retain skilled workers in various ways.
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“There is an increasing number of redundancies. The first ones to be made redundant are workers employed through recruitment agencies, then those working part-time or workers in small shops that have closed rapidly due to the fall in demand,” said Dragoljub Rajic, consultant.
He also said that the redundancies have occurred in several sectors and believes that they will happen later in medium and large companies as well, due to the drop in demand in the global market.
The support measures for businesses, such as tax deferrals and minimum wage payments, were automatically used in about 300,000 companies. Another 170,000 companies applied for them. According to the Chamber of Commerce, 135,000 businesses will exercise their right to use this measure.
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