During the time of the coronavirus epidemic, the whole world found itself in a deep economic and social crisis. The Government has so far adopted eight legislative anti-corona packages, and in the future, the key role will be played by the measures which will help us exit the crisis. According to Eva Irgl, the chairwoman of the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Disability, all of the measures adopted so far have saved around 300 thousand jobs, and she believes the most important thing is that help reached the people directly. “What is especially important is that with all the aid packages so far, we have helped not only the economy and tourism but have also managed to reach people directly with our aid,” she said at the meeting of the committee. According to the head of the Expert Team, Matej Lahovnik, we are now moving to the time when it will no longer make sense to adopt new measures, but instead, we will have to start thinking about an exit strategy for the economic recovery.
The coronavirus epidemic is majorly impacting the economy, which has left us in a deep economic crisis, which is undoubtedly also affecting the social situation of the people. Since the eighth anti-corona legislative package has now been adopted, it makes sense to start thinking about an exit strategy. “The eighth anti-corona legislative package is necessary and effective, and after it will be adopted, we need to start thinking about our exit strategy,” Matej Lahovnik, Ph.D., explained. If we look at the analyses, they show that the economic recovery will only be possible sometime in the second half of 2021. As far as unemployment is concerned, we can see that it has not risen in recent months, which is a good thing, and at the same time, the Government is also helping people with various solidarity allowances. This sustainable state of the economy is also possible because Slovenia has maintained its reputation in the financial markets and we can therefore borrow under better conditions, which is especially important in the current situation.
Member of Parliament and chairwoman of the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Eva Irgl, addressed the MPs ahead of the adoption of the eighth anti-corona legislative package, with the following words: “The fact is that we are currently living in very difficult times. And if the times are tough, then that usually means we have to make quick and responsible decisions, ones that benefit and help, especially those parts of the population which have been most affected by the epidemic.” The Government has already adopted seven intervention laws in order to alleviate the effects of the epidemic on the economy and the social situation, and this week, the National Assembly adopted the eighth legislative package, with each subsequent law addressing all the groups of people to whom the previous laws applied because they were most affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
All of the anti-crisis measures, especially those linked to the labour market, have so far helped maintain around 300 thousand jobs. “Thus, we have already distributed a lot of aid in the seven packages, taking into account practically all categories of the population,” Irgl emphasised. In the eighth legislative package, the solidarity allowance also covered some other categories – students, people with disabilities who are receiving the disability benefits and have been temporarily laid off. Thus, the inequalities created with the seventh anti-corona legislative package with the crisis allowance for workers in the amount of 200 euros, have been corrected.
The measures are primarily aimed at helping people “What is especially important is that with all the aid packages so far, we have helped not only the economy and tourism but have also managed to reach people directly with our aid,” Irgl pointed out. So far, the pensioners have received a solidarity allowance twice, in the range of 130 to 300 euros, depending on the amount of their pension, of course. A solidarity allowance has also been provided for all high school students over the age of eighteen with permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Slovenia, in the amount of 50 euros. The law also stipulates fines for skipping the order of vaccination.
The eighth anti-corona legislative package also includes new categories The latest legislative package also includes some new categories among the recipients of the solidarity allowance. One of the categories is students who are studying abroad, who will receive a one-time allowance of 150 euros; the unemployed who lost their jobs after the 12th of March 2020 and are still unemployed – they will also receive 150 euros; as will the war veterans and people with disabilities. “I was personally very happy about this allowance, or especially happy, as all of us in the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) have repeatedly warned that the minimum disability pensions should at least be raised to the level of social financial assistance,” Irgl pointed out.
At the committee meeting, Irgl also pointed out that it was very important to establish a reward system for the healthcare employees who have been the most burdened during the epidemic, and who are taking care of the elderly in the nursing homes and hospitals. The distress of the self-employed and the micro-enterprises was being solved with the help of a monthly basic income. In one of the packages, they provided an additional 31 million euros for institutional care, which was especially important, because, in the covid-19 epidemic, the elderly are the most vulnerable.
There are three crucial measures The measure of subsidising the increase of the minimum wage is also included in the eighth legislative package, which determines the partial subsidisation of the increase of the minimum wage by the state, and on the other hand, enables the recipients of the lowest wages to live a more decent life. In addition to the measure mentioned above, the legislative package also extends the well-received measures from the previous packages, such as the extension of the subsidy for those who have been temporarily laid off, the subsidisation of full-time work and the provision of basic income. “We also extended the subsidy for those who have been temporarily laid off in our eighth legislative package, at least until the end of April 2021. The state will also take on part of the burden due to the increase in the minimum wage, and the employers will receive a subsidy of 50 euros for those who do not reach the minimum wage without allowances. Moreover, the Government also tried to meet the Unions halfway and eliminated the unequal treatment of the employees when it comes to the payment of the crisis allowance in the amount of 200 euros. According to the eighth legislative package, all workers in the private sector will be entitled to the payment of the crisis allowance,” Irgl explained.
The current sustainable economic situation is the result of timely, effective and targeted measures. “Targeted measures have always supported the most socially vulnerable groups, those for whom all of us in our party have been fighting for from the beginning, so the disabled, the pensioners, the employees who receive the minimum wage,” she explained. The infamous MP from the Levica party and the representative of the party of the “poor,” Miha Kordiš also responded to all of the achievements that Irgl listed, and the only thing he was capable of saying, was: “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Despite the fact that the law was adopted with the intention of helping the population, ten deputies voted against it; all the deputies from the Levica party and Marjan Šarec from the LMŠ party, as well as Franc Trček from the SD party. The remaining representatives of the opposition abstained from the vote, even though the experts are increasingly calling for cooperation for the future.