STA, 7 September 2020 - Slovenia has for years now been witnessing a rise of precarious forms of labour, which mostly exclude the right to paid sick leave, holiday, lunch and transport allowances. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse and while NGOs, calling for systemic changes, are pessimistic, the Labour Ministry is planning some steps in the autumn.
Absent a formal definition of precarious work in Slovenia, estimates of the number of precarious workers vary. The Statistics Office, counting student workers, agency workers, those working short-time involuntarily, and the self-employed working for a single employer, put the figure at 39,000 in the first quarter this year.
The Movement for Dignified Work and Welfare Society estimates the figure much higher, at between 200,000 and 250,000, as it also factors in those on fixed-term contracts and the self-employed who work for several clients but are exposed to competition.
Speaking with the STA, Mirsad Begić of the ZSSS trade union confederation pointed the finger at state institutions and employers as regards the absence of a single definition, while he also took issue with the distinguishing between legal and illegal precarious labour arrangements.
He argued this took normal labour arrangements out of the picture and suggested precarious work was only about exploitation that is illegal. "Such a rendering of the concept is misleading, since people are often excessively exploited even in entirely legal forms of work."
Borut Brezar in Hana Radilovič of the the Movement for Dignified Work and Welfare Society moreover warned that the coronavirus crisis further aggravated the status of precarious workers, who often live below the poverty line.
A study conducted recently among the self-employed showed a third were feeling depressed while 14% even had suicidal thoughts after starting the path of self-employment.
Aid provided to the self-employed during the epidemic amounted to EUR 350 in basic income in March and EUR 700 each in April and May along with covered social contributions.
While calling for systemic measures, the union and movement are pessimistic as regards promises of political action. "It seems that it still holds in politics that changes are avoided by forming a taskforce," said Brezar and Radilovič, pointing out this had also happened without any results under the past two governments.
The movement is proposing a minimum hourly wage for precarious work forms and paid sick-leave for the self-employed, while it also promotes changes to public procurement rules, which often prioritise cheap bidders that exploit workers.
Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj told the STA he was aware of the negative impact of precarious work at the micro and macro levels.
"At the micro level we speak of negative effects in terms of the absence of minimal legal, economic and social security. At the macro level, it is the existence and maintenance of social security systems and tax policy that are affected," he said.
Calling for measures based on in-depth studies, he said he was looking forward to the results of a multidisciplinary analysis of precarious work, which will be presented in the autumn. "If needed, we will propose measures on the basis of this," he announced.
One perceived issue is the absence of collective organisation among precarious workers. Begić pointed out that a Trade Union of Precarious Workers had been formed almost four years ago but had so far failed to win proper recognition.
"There have been no tangible results due to the difficult situation of those affected, the tough conditions for unions in general and scarce resources," he said.
STA, 7 September 2020 - Ikea is looking for more than 300 staff for its first Slovenia store, due to open in Ljubljana later this year. Candidates for various positions in sales, logistics, customer relations and customer support, restaurants and other departments can apply for a job by the end of September.
According to the representatives of the Swedish furniture retailer, they began the process of mass employment in Slovenia today. All vacancies will be open until the end of September, followed by interviews and evaluations of registered candidates in October.
"We are pleased to be able to offer unlimited opportunities in a global company to candidates who are interested in working with us," said Cas Lachaert, market manager at Ikea Slovenia. They are looking for employees from a wide variety of backgrounds, while preferring those who believe in the company's values.
In the spring, when the Ljubljana unit hired about 20 staff, Ikea received about 200 applications for each job advertised.
The store is being built in the BTC City shopping district in Ljubljana. When the foundation stone was laid in October last year, it was announced the store would be built within a year. It will cover more than 31,000 square meters and offer almost 10,000 products.
Details of the open jobs at Ikea in Ljubljana
STA, 22 August 2020 - The gap between the minimum and average wages in Slovenia stood at 50.6% in 2019, which made the country the EU member state with the narrowest gap, data from Slovenia's Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) shows.
Since Slovenia introduced the minimum wage in 1995, legislation has been amended on several occasions changing the manner in which the minimum wage is set or raised.
In 1995-1997, it was generally harmonised in the same manner as the base pay in the private sector.
In the following period until 2003, a mechanism was introduced basing its increase not only on inflation but also on GDP growth in real terms.
In 2004-2005, the minimum wage was set in a nominal sum, and rose more than the average pay in the private sector but less than if pegged to GDP growth in real terms.
The anticipated inflation was meanwhile the only indicator to which the minimum wage was pegged in 2006-2009.
In 2010-2018, the minimum wage was pegged to inflation from the previous year, whereas pay and employment trends, and the general economic situation could also be taken into account.
Under the 2018 changes to the minimum wage law, the amount set as the minimum cost of living will also be taken into account in setting the minimum wage as of 2021.
Over the past 25 years there have been two major minimum wage raises, which have brought the minimum wage closer to the average salary.
The first kicked in in 2010, when it rose from EUR 593 gross to EUR 734, but companies allowed to complete the transition until the end of 2011.
The changes from 2018 brought the other major increase, to EUR 887 gross for 2019 and to EUR 940 for 2020.
Also, as of this year, all bonuses, for instance for night shifts or Sunday work, were excluded from the minimum wage.
They are now calculated not as part of the minimum wages but separately, which further raised the monthly pay of workers on the minimum wage.
As of next year, a new formula will kick in under which the minimum wage will have to exceeded the minimum cost of living by at least 20%, but not by more than 40%.
All these changes have resulted in a narrowing gap between the minimum and average wages; in 2000, the gap stood at 40.3%, at 45.4% in 2010 and at 50.6% last year.
What is more, minimum wage growth has exceeded productivity growth throughout the last decade.
Slovenia is one of 21 EU members states which have the minimum wage regulated in a law.
The ratio between the highest and lowest minimum wages in the EU-21 is roughly 1:7, or 1:3 if measured in purchasing power standards.
Luxembourg has the highest minimum wage in nominal terms and in purchasing power standards, with Bulgaria and Latvia at the bottom of the list, respectively.
In terms of purchasing power standards, Romania has seen the highest rise in the minimum wage in the past ten years.
Together with Portugal, Greece, Malta and Spain, Slovenia places in the middle group in terms of minimum wage growth. Last year, the minimum wage in the group ranged from EUR 700 to 1,050.
The ratio between minimum and average gross wages in the EU members which are also OECD members meanwhile ranged from 33.1% to 52%.
Here Slovenia topped the list with 50.6% in 2019, followed by France, while Greece had the widest gap to the average pay, IMAD said in its latest analysis of the minimum wage.
STA, 18 August 2020 - Slovenian home appliance manufacturer Gorenje is hiring some 600 temporary workers to cope with a record number of orders. Orders until the end of the year are by more than 30% higher for each month than last year, while a 15-20% increase is also expected for early 2021, the company told the STA on Tuesday.
Since 10 August, Gorenje has already hired 240 workers on a fixed-term contract, and is looking for another 350, to be employed by 1 September.
Some of the new workers will be hired until the end of October, but the majority until the end of the year, said the company, which is part of the Chinese group Hisense.
"While a rise in orders is typical of this time of year due to the seasonal nature of production, we have an absolute record number of orders for this period now."
When the coronavirus pandemic hit this spring, Gorenje's new owners were planning massive layoffs.
Orders for August to October then rose significantly and June was the first profitable month this year.
The changed situation prompted the Hisense Gorenje management to resort to soft methods to improve efficiency in production at Gorenje.
Due to the pandemic, Gorenje has introduced a number of measures to boost sales, cut costs and increase production efficiency.
STA, 5 August 2020 - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 89,397 at the end of July, which is almost unchanged compared to June but due to unemployment growth in April and May the figure is 24.4% above that from July 2019, show data released by the Employment Service on Wednesday.
There were 84,717 persons registered as unemployed on average in the first seven months of the year, 12.2% more than in the same period last year.
The number of newly registered unemployed persons was 8,222 in July, up by 8.2% on June and by 32.4% in the year-on-year comparison.
Among the newly registered, 4,042 had seen their fixed term contracts expire, 490 were first time job seekers, 127 became unemployed because of receivership and 2,221 were long-term redundancies.
The new number of newly registered redundant persons was up by 0.9% compared to June and by 197.3% year on year.
Of the 8,202 persons that were removed from the unemployment registry, jobs were found by 6,487, a 95.7% increase year-on-year.
STA, 15 July 2020 - The average gross earnings in May amounted to EUR 1,892.31, down by 2.3% on April nominally and by 3.2% in real terms. The average net wage was EUR 1,244.44, a 1.7% and 2.6% decrease respectively on April, show data released by the Statistics Office on Wednesday.
Year-on-year, average gross earnings increased, in nominal terms by 9.5% and in real terms by 10.8%. The increase was largely the result of temporary stimulus measures related to the Covid-19 epidemic, which were also in place in April.
Compared to April, average gross earnings in May decreased in both sectors, in the private sector by 2.5% and in the public sector by 2.2%. In the institutional sector general government they decreased by 1.9%.
The highest average gross earnings for May were paid in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (EUR 2,589.33).
Compared to gross earnings for April, average gross earnings for May increased the most in public administration and defence, compulsory social security (by 7.0%) and decreased the most in accommodation and food service activities (by 8.0%).
If average gross earnings for May were calculated by the number of persons in paid employment on the basis of paid hours and not on the basis of the number of persons in paid employment, they would be higher than gross earnings for April in public administration and defence, compulsory social security by 4.8% and in accommodation and food service activities by 1.0%.
More detailed data can be found here
STA, 8 July 2020 - Banka Slovenije has pointed out that the government's corona-crisis stimulus measures are having a marked effect on the labour market and that employment and wage statistics could deteriorate significantly once they are lifted. The central bank added that a deterioration on the labour market was also heralded by surveys conducted among companies.
Banka Slovenije's latest quarterly report, released on Wednesday, also says Slovenia suffered a strong decline in GDP in April, the prospects for the second half of the year are, however, more favourable.
The central bank pointed to a survey by the Statistics Office, which suggests demand will increase substantially in the third quarter, while it simultaneously projected a deterioration of the labour market situation in the second half of the year.
The financial situation of businesses meanwhile remains stable, which Banka Slovenia attributes to ample liquidity reserves, favourable bank financing, labour costs subsidies, the possibility of deferred tax payments, as well as the government's loan guarantees scheme.
On the other hand, the state's fiscal situation has deteriorated significantly. Revenue in the first five months decreased year-on-year by EUR 720 million or 9.2%, while expenditure was up by EUR 874 million or 11.4%.
The state deficit could reach around 8% of GDP this year, whereas public debt could rise to 2015 levels, when it stood at a record 82% of GDP.
STA, 15 June 2020 - The average net pay in Slovenia in April stood at EUR 1,266, which was 10.5% more than in March nominally and 11.5% more in real terms, the Statistics Office reported on Monday, noting that the increase was related to measures mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Statistics Office said the increase was mostly related to the payment of crisis bonuses in line with the relevant legislation and collective bargaining agreements.
The average gross pay was up by 10.2% nominally and by 11.2% in real terms compared to March to EUR 1,937.
In the public sector, the average gross pay for April was up by 10.9% on the monthly basis, while in the private sector, the increase was smaller, at 8.6%.
Sector-wise, the average gross pay was the highest in healthcare and social security (EUR 2,714), where the monthly increase was also the highest, at 27.9%.
Also increasing by more than a fifth was the average gross pay in the hospitality sector (24.2%).
STA, 9 June 2020 - Slovenia's exports dropped by 28.8% to EUR 2.01 billion in April compared to April 2019, the sharpest contraction since 2008, while imports plummeted by 41.2% to EUR 1.86 billion, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday. The trend was driven by a decline in car trade, which shrank by about three-quarters compared to last April.
Road vehicles are the third most traded group of products, preceded only by medical and pharmaceutical products, and electric machines and devices.
The surplus in external trade in goods reached EUR 149.3 million, which is the highest surplus in the last ten years, and the export/import ratio was at 108%.
Exports to EU countries amounted to EUR 1.24 billion, which is down 41.4% over April 2019, and imports to the EU topped EUR 1.18 billion, which is a 45.4% drop compared to last April.
Trade with all main foreign trade partners from the EU decreased, most notably with Italy and Germany. But the latter remains Slovenia's most important trade partner.
Exports to non-EU countries were up 9.3% to EUR 766.5 million, while imports from them were down 32.1% to EUR 680.4 million.
The year-on-year growth of exports to this group of countries was the result of higher exports to Switzerland, which thus became Slovenia's second most important trade partner.
In the first four months of 2020, exports decreased by 2.6% year on year to EUR 10.79 billion and imports by 9.4% to EUR 10.21 billion. External trade surplus in the January-April period topped EUR 585.8 million and the export/import ratio was 105.7%.
STA, 9 June 2020 - Employment company Manpower Group has presented a grim employment outlook for the third quarter of the year. In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia, the outlook presented on Tuesday is the worst since 2013. The share of employers planning layoffs surpasses those planning to hire by seven percentage points.
The survey showed that 18% of employers plan to lay off people between July and the end September, while 11% intend to expand their teams.
Seasonably adjusted, the gap between those planning to fire and those intending to hire amounts one percentage point.
Meanwhile, 64% do not plan to make changes to their workforce, Manpower data suggest.
The net hiring outlook for the next quarter is 5 percentage points lower than for this quarter, and 23 percentage points lower than for the same period last year.
A drop in hiring is expected by employers in five out of the seven sectors included in the survey, with the prospects being the worst in hospitality. Here, the hiring gap is as high as 13 percentage points.
The only two segments with positive hiring prospects are the sector of financial and business services and what is classified by Manpower as other production sectors.
In terms of company size, prospects are poorest among medium-sized companies, where net employment outlook is at -14%.
Employment outlook has deteriorated for all regions, with central Slovenia and the southeast faring worst. In central Slovenia the hiring gap reached 5 percentage points, while in the southeast it dropped to 1 percentage point.
The global survey included 388 Slovenian companies among a total of 34,600 companies in 44 countries.
STA, 22 April 2020 - The Chinese-owned group Hisense Europe is planning to close 2,200 jobs by the end of the year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including as many as 1,000 in Slovenia, TV Slovenija reported, citing a trade unionist.
According to the report, the management of household appliances maker Hisense Gorenje set its plans at a meeting featuring Chao Liu, one of the executive directors, production manager Tomaž Korošec, staffing officials and representatives of the works council, trade union and the employees' representative on the board Drago Bahun.
The management presented data on the situation resulting from the pandemic. Production in Velenje has not yet returned to full capacity after being completely suspended for three weeks.
The head of the in-house trade union Žan Zeba told the public broadcaster that Hisense was to make 1,000 people redundant in Slovenia, including 700 at the production facility in Velenje and 300 in the Ljubljana-headquartered company Hisense Europe.
Zeba said the staff were shocked by the extent of planned layoffs, noting that the company had received state aid "probably also in order not to make redundancies".
The first meeting with employees on layoffs are to be held after May day holidays.
Gorenje is to set out detailed plans about job cutbacks on Thursday.