By: Sara Rančigaj / Nova24TV
At 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 anti-crisis measures, and in the future the key measures will be to get out of the crisis. According to the chairman of the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Affairs, and Disability, Eva Irgl, all the measures taken so far have saved 300,000 jobs, while she finds it most important that the help came directly to the people. “It is especially important that with all the aid packages so far, we have helped not only the economy and tourism, but the aid has also reached people directly,” she said at the committee meeting. According to the head of the government group Matej Lahovnik, we are now moving to a time when it will no longer make sense to take new measures, but it will be necessary to think about an exit strategy for economic recovery.
The coronavirus epidemic is leaving major consequences on the economy, which has left us in a deep economic crisis, which is undoubtedly affecting the social situation of people. After the adoption of the eighth anti-corona package, it will definitely make sense to start thinking about an exit strategy. “The eighth anti-corona package is necessary and effective, and after its adoption, it will be necessary to start thinking about an exit strategy,” explained Dr. Matej Lahovnik. If we look at the analyses, they show that economic recovery will only be possible 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 fact, and at the same time the government is helping people with various solidarity allowances. Such a sustainable state of the economy is also possible because Slovenia has maintained its reputation in the financial markets and we can therefore borrow money for cheaper, which is especially important in this situation.
Eva Irgl, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Committee of Labour, Family, Social Affairs, and Disability, addressed the MPs prior to the adoption of the eight anti-corona package with the following words: “The fact is that we are living in very difficult times. And if times are difficult, then they usually require us to make quick and responsible decisions, ones that benefit and help those sections of the population most affected by the epidemic.” To alleviate the economic and social situation, the government has already adopted seven intervention laws, and this week the National Assembly passed an eighth, with each subsequent intervention law addressing all those groups of people for whom, during the duration of the previous law, proved to be most affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
All anti-crisis measures, especially those linked to the labour market, have so far maintained around 300,000 jobs. “Thus, we have already distributed a lot of aid in seven packages, taking into account practically all categories of the population,” Irgl emphasised. In ACP8, the solidarity supplement covers some other categories – high school students, disabled people who receive disability benefits and are on hold – and thus they correct for the inequality created in the seventh anti-corona package with the crisis allowance for workers in the amount of 200 euros.
The measures are aimed primarily at helping people
“It is especially important that with all the aid packages so far, we have helped not only the economy and tourism, but the aid has also reached people directly,” she pointed out. So far, pensioners have received a solidarity allowance twice in the range of 130 to 300 euros, depending on the amount of the pension, of course. A solidarity allowance is provided for high school students in the amount of 50 euros, for of age students with permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Slovenia. The law also stipulates fines for skipping the order of vaccination.
Includes new categories
ACP8 also includes some new categories among the recipients of the solidarity allowance. These are students studying abroad receiving allowance in the amount of 150 euros, the unemployed who lost their jobs after March 12th 2020 and are still unemployed, in the amount of 150 euros, war veterans and the disabled in the amount of 150 euros. “Personally, I am very happy about this supplement, or especially happy about it, as we in the SDS party have repeatedly warned that the minimum disability pensions should be raised at least to the level of social assistance,” Irgl pointed out.
At the committee meeting, Irgl also stressed that it was very important to establish a reward system for those health care employees who are the most burdened and who care for the elderly in old people’s homes and hospitals. The distress of the self-employed and micro-enterprises was also solved through the monthly basic income. In one of the packages, they provided an additional 31 million euros for institutional care, which was especially important because the most vulnerable groups due to covid-19 are the elderly.
In ACP8, the key measure is to subsidise the increase of the minimum wage, which determines the partial subsidisation of the state of the increase of the minimum wage, and on the other hand enables the recipients of the lowest wages to live more decently. In addition to the above-mentioned measure, ACP8 extends well-received measures, such as the extension of the subsidy for waiting for work, the subsidisation of full-time work, and the provision of basic income. “With ACP8, we have also extended the subsidy for waiting for work at least until the end of April 2021. The state will also bear part of the burden due to the increase in the minimum wage, employers will receive a subsidy of 50 euros for those who do not reach the minimum wage without allowances. Moreover, the Government also opposed the Trade Unions and eliminated the unequal treatment of employees in the payment of the crisis allowance in the amount of 200 euros. According to the established ACP8, 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 we have been fighting in our party from the very beginning, i.e. the disabled, pensioners, employees who receive minimum wages,” she further clarified. On all the achievements that Irgl listed, the infamous MP of the Levica party and the representative of the party of the “poor” Miha Kordiš could not say anything other than: “You lie, you steal, you eat fleas” (taken from a children’s song). Despite the fact that the law is intended to help the population, ten MPs voted against it; all MPs of the Levica party, Marjan Šarec from the ranks of LMŠ party, and Franc Trček from the ranks of SD party. The remaining representatives of the opposition did not vote or abstained, while experts are increasingly calling for cooperation for the future.