Belarus President signs ordinance on population employment assistance measures

    Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed Ordinance No.1 on 25 January to stipulate population employment assistance measures. The document is primarily designed to step up government work in order to help citizens find jobs, encourage gainful occupations and self-employment of Belarusians.

    In order to reach these goals, the central government is supposed to set forecast parameters in the area of population employment assistance efforts and compile a list of territories where the labor market situation is stressful. The government will also perform a monitoring function, evaluate the quality of and access to employment assistance services.

    In turn, municipal government agencies are expected to work with every unemployed Belarusian with a view to finding jobs for them and re-socializing antisocial individuals. Apart from that, the oblast councils of deputies, the Minsk City Council of Deputies will be able to spend money of the relevant municipal budgets on population employment assistance measures in areas with difficult situations on the labor market.

    The new ordinance does not require able-bodied unemployed Belarusians to pay a fee in order to finance government spending. The persons who were previously recognized as the payers of this fee are now exempted from paying it.

    The ordinance provides for a conceptually new approach which is aimed at encouraging able-bodied unemployed citizens to seek legal employment. It is envisaged that such persons will have to pay the full cost of the services subsidized by the state starting 1 January 2019. The government has been instructed to compile a list of these services.

    A key role in the implementation of the ordinance is assigned to the municipal government agencies. To this end, municipal executive and administrative bodies shall set up standing commissions to promote the employment of citizens.

    The commissions will include people’s deputies of all levels, municipal government experts and representatives of public associations. The district-level commissions will be, as a rule, headed by the chairpersons of the district councils of deputies.

    The ordinance gives a broad mandate to the commissions. In particular, they have the right to allow unemployed working-age citizens not to pay the full cost of services for a certain period of time if the citizens have a difficult life situation.

    In order to put the ordinance into practice, the government will adopt a number of resolutions. They will outline the procedure for classifying able-bodied citizens as unemployed, the list of services provided to such citizens at full cost, the payment terms for these services, and other matters.

    The government is also expected to take measures to redouble the preventive efforts aimed at unemployed able-bodied citizens showing antisocial behavior, and also improve the work of tax authorities to identify and impose taxes on individuals with understated incomes.

    The ordinance comes into force as of its official publication.