New Govt Plans Better Integration of Foreigners, Affordable Housing, Price Caps on Energy & Food If Needed

By , 16 May 2022, 14:38 PM Politics
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STA, 16 May 2022 - The incoming coalition intends to implement a pension reform, raise the minimum pension and the minimum wage, respect social dialogue, eliminate precariousness, introduce an integration system for foreigners, while providing affordable housing and regulating energy and food prices if necessary.

The Freedom Movement, Social Democrats (SD) and Left pledge in their coalition agreement to raise pensions to at least EUR 700 in 2023 and to examine the option of universal basic income for lower-income pensioners.

Workers will be allowed a gradual transition to retirement and the option of pensioners starting working again will be examined by taking into account the needs of pensioners, the labour market and the public interest.

The coalition partners commit to implement a financially sustainable pension reform by strengthening the first pillar (mandatory contributions from the wages) and encouraging people to additionally save for pension.

The lowest pension will be by 10% above the poverty threshold, while new sources of pension funding will be secured to reduce dependency on contributions from wages.

Apart from raising the minimum pension, the new coalition also intends to raise the minimum wage to at least EUR 800 net as of 2023 and pursue its growth in real terms.

The partners pledge to implement the minimum wage as the lowest possible base pay in a transitional period to eliminate cases where workers receive less than the minimum wage while the difference must be paid from the budget.

The coalition will return to social dialogue on the Social and Economic Council (ESS), which has come to a standstill under the outgoing government.

In agreement with the social partners, the work week will gradually be reduced to 30 hours while the full pay for the existing 40-hour week will be preserved.

Precariousness is planned to be eliminated by drafting a strategy with a specific timeline of measures in collaboration with experts and the civil society.

The option of blacklisting employers that systematically violate labour legislation will be examined, also to prevent them from taking part in public procurement.

Measures are also planned to eliminate violations when a worker is hired for short periods of time as a way of bypassing legislation.

Oversight over agencies which provide workers to companies will be enhanced and agency workers will be guaranteed the minimum wage.

A better work-life balance will be pursued, including by introducing a right for workers not to have to answer messages from their employer in their spare time.

The coalition also pledges to draft, in collaboration with NGOs, a comprehensive system of effective integration of foreign workers and their families.

More Slovenian-language classes and other integration programmes will be provided for foreign kids at school and inter-cultural dialogue will be encouraged.

An employment strategy for EU workers and third-country workers harmonised with the needs of businesses and public sectors services is also planned.

The coalition pledges to pursue a coordinated migration and integration policy alongside measures to make life and work easier for foreigners.

Language proficiency requirements for third-country workers are to be softened.

As for long-term care, a comprehensive approach is planned with a new bill on long-term care, harmonised with key stakeholders, to be adopted by May 2023.

The partners promise that long-term care will be solidarity-based, fair and financially sustainable based on progressive taxation and other budgetary resources.

More funds to expand the public network of institutions providing long-term care will be provided, while waiting times to get a bed at a care home will be halved.

In housing, a priority will be drafting a crisis management plan to build and renovate rental homes, especially in areas where rents and the prices of land are highest.

To provide for 20,000 public rental homes by 2030, the coalition intends to strengthen the national Housing Fund and support other models of financing.

Property owned by the bad bank that is suitable for housing construction will be transferred onto the Housing Fund.

Legislation will be adopted to enable construction through housing cooperatives and a special guarantee scheme.

Legislative changes are also planned to encourage owners to put their flats on the rental market for an indefinite period of time, while regulation of rents and the rental market is also being considered.

Conditions for platform holiday rentals could be tightened in areas where there is a shortage of flats.

The coalition intends to give a special focus to the youth in housing efforts, while pledging that all policies regarding the young will be drafted together with them.

As for social policy, the coalition pledges to work hand in hand with the civil society, stressing eligibility for social transfers will be informed by clear criteria and fairness to serve "the people's needs".

The impact of income tax breaks on family and social policies will be examined and changes potentially made to enhance employment and social inclusion.

The option of gradually introducing universal basic goods for children and youth to provide for a regular income for living and education will be examined.

The coalition also plans to eliminate the measures that have decreased the right of the unemployed to freely choose employment and the right to unemployment benefit.

Prices of electricity and petroleum products will be regulated if necessary, especially to protect the most vulnerable groups.

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