STA, 5 December 2019 - Pharmaceutical company Lek has been declared the top Slovenian employer in 2019, the first time in nine years that it has beaten rival drug maker Krka. The title is awarded by the jobs portal Mojedelo.
The award is the result of a poll involving 19,000 users of the jobs portal that measured various aspects of the reputation of companies as employers or potential employers, Styria Digital Marketplaces, which owns Mojedelo, said on Thursday.
Lek and Krka were followed in the rankings by energy companies Petrol and Gen-I, and telco Telekom Slovenije.
Lek, which is owned by the pharma giant Novartis, said the award recognised "that we have created an environment for our colleagues in which everyone can find their inspiration".
All our stories about employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 25 November 2019 - Businesses from north-east Slovenia are worried that companies providing cross-border services in the EU could be severely affected if Slovenia introduces into its law the new directive governing cross-border services and posted workers "too rigorously". A study by an economist was presented to corroborate their view.
Earlier this year, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) asked the European Commission to investigate Slovenia for dumping in temporarily posting workers in other EU countries.
The EFBWW maintains Slovenia's law enables paying lower contributions and taxes for posted workers in the markets where they work, making them more competitive, explained the head of the Štajerska region's association of providers of cross-border services, Albert Kekec.
Slovenian companies believe these are false allegations, and have complained against them, waiting for the final decision, Kekec noted in Maribor on Monday.
He believes Slovenia was challenged because it is a small country and because it has a poor record of defending itself in such cases.
But since the dispute could result in case law which would also apply to other EU countries, it is important that our country realises the weight of the case and acts appropriately, he said.
This is why the regional Štajerska Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a study of exports of construction and engineering services, and posted workers.
Economist Jože P. Damijan, presenting his study, said legislative changes would considerably lower or entirely stop the export of construction, engineering and transport services by Slovenian companies to the EU.
This is particularly true for the part of Štajerska along the Drava river, which has an above-average number of such companies.
Damijan predicts a loss of more than 10,000 jobs around the entire country, and even up to 13,000 in the worst-case scenario, of which some 5,000 in the Drava area.
The chamber wonders whether the government is aware of all the consequences that could result from transposing the directive indiscriminately.
It points to direct and indirect impact on the country's GDP, while the area around the river Drava would be affected the most.
Damijan's study shows Slovenia's construction, engineering and transport companies generate around 20% of all exported services, and almost 4.5% of the country's overall exports. The majority or 80% is exported to the EU.
These companies employ more than 70,000 workers and post around 12,000 workers abroad monthly. Slovenia is thus preceded only by Poland.
Over the past few years Slovenia's services sector has been growing the fastest in the EU.
Damijan said it was true the three sectors employed over 70% of foreign workers, mostly from the Balkans, but noted these were still Slovenian-owned companies paying taxes in Slovenia.
The chamber also criticised the government for not providing enough information, including about the appeal against the EFBWW's request to investigate Slovenia.
State Secretary at the Labour Ministry Tilen Božič has recently said the ministry intends to tackle the issue of posted workers, including alleged violations of worker rights as highlighted by Slovenian trade unions, by changing the law on cross-border services "in a foreseeable future".
STA, 6 November 2019 - The Labour Ministry is not planning in the short term to sign any new agreements on employing foreign workers, as there are enough recruitment opportunities in the country's neighbourhood for now. It also said on Wednesday it was keeping an eye on labour market dynamics prompted by warnings of a higher economic slowdown risk.
Responding to the recent media reports of Slovenia being interested in employing 2,000-5,000 Philippine workers, the ministry said the country was not preparing to enter into a bilateral agreement with the Philippines on issuing such work permits.
As for importing foreign workers, the ministry follows a migration strategy adopted this year which aims to curb the trend of Slovenian workers leaving the country, promote labour circulation and encourage Slovenians who have been away for a longer period to return home, State Secretary Tilen Božič told the press.
When looking for foreign workers, the ministry focusses on the areas which are geographically and culturally close to Slovenia. The country has so far signed two such treaties - with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, with another agreement being drawn up with Ukraine.
"Currently, the wider region provides enough opportunities," said Božič, highlighting that in any case negotiations to conclude such an agreement entailed a number of steps and usually took several years.
Asked whether businesses had been calling on the ministry to sign new work permit agreements, Božič said that businesses were more interested in a decree that would enable faster procedures to employ a foreign worker.
He also pointed out that out of some 900,000 working in Slovenia in August, almost 100,000 were foreigners, while in the same month in 2013, there were over 50,000 foreign workers out of 760,000 workers, adding that these figures indicated distinct shifts, including in Slovenia's economy and the labour market, which demanded swift adjustment tactics.
Slovenian media reported in late October that a delegation led by Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti visited the Philippines to strengthen bilateral economic relations and met a Labour Ministry state secretary.
The delegation was accompanied by representatives of Slovenian businesses and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), who were the ones calling for importing Philippine workers, the Economy Ministry said last month, distancing itself from this possible strategy.
The ministry also added at the time that bilateral trade with the Philippines was modest; however, the Philippines' economic growth projections were opening up a huge potential for Slovenia, according to the MMC web portal of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.
The GZS told the STA today that it was currently not considering any new work permit agreements and that the October meeting, which was attended by Slovenian Honorary Consul to the Philippines Srečko Debelak as well, was an isolated case among such organised events.
According to the chamber, Slovenia's industry is looking for workforce outside the EU in the Western Balkans countries and Ukraine, focussing in particular on skills from the occupation shortage list.
Businesses can employ foreign workers from countries with which Slovenia does not have such an agreement; however, employment procedures are more complex in this case, the Labour Ministry told the STA today.
Regardless of the agreement status, the key issue in these procedures is a lack of Slovenian language skills. The existent agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia envisage pre-integration measures which tackle this issue and are funded by the EU, the ministry explained.
STA, 3 October 2019 - Slovenia's joblessness keeps declining with the latest official data putting the number of registered unemployed to 69,834 in September, down 2.4% from August and down 5.3% from September 2018.
The latest total is close to the record-low level registered in September 2008 when 59,303 were registered as being out of a job.
The Employment Service registered 5,752 newly unemployed people in September, which is 34.8% more than in August and 0.3% more than in September last year.
Most (2,917) saw their fixed-term job contracts expire; 981 just entered the job market and 741 were made redundant.
Out of the 7,462 unemployed who were removed from the unemployment roll, 5,420 got a job or became self-employed. The latter figure is 84.6% higher than in August but 7.4% lower year-on-year.
In the first three quarters of the year, an average 74,448 were registered as being out of a job, which is 5.7% fewer than in the same period a year ago.
The number of the newly unemployed in the nine months decreased by 4.1% from the same period a year ago. The number of registered first-time job seekers dropped by 16.4% and the number of those whose fixed-term jobs expired fell by 6.5%, whereas the number of those who were made redundant rose by 10.6%.
Of the 60,080 removed from the unemployment register, 44,530 found a job, which marks a decline of 9.3% year-on-year.
Employers registered 13,726 vacancies in September, 7.6% more than in August, but 5.2% fewer than in September last year. Most openings were for simple jobs in manufacturing.
The most recent data on the registered unemployment rate are available for July; at that month the rate was 7.4%, up 0.1 percentage point from June and down 0.6 points year-on-year.
Statistics Office data for July put the number of people in employment at 893,760, which is 0.4% fewer than the month before and 2.5% more than a year ago.
STA, 3 October 2019 - The government has proposed changes to the labour market regulation act that increase the minimum monthly unemployment benefit while stiffening entitlement conditions. The changes also introduce compulsory Slovenian language classes for non-Slovenian EU citizens registered as unemployed and a basic language skill requirement for the rest.
The minimum monthly unemployment benefit is being raised from EUR 350 gross to EUR 530 gross to equalise it with the basic minimum income for single-person households, which currently stands at EUR 402 net.
On the other hand, the minimum insurance period in 24 months prior to unemployment guaranteeing benefits would be extended from 9 to 10 months.
Also, the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement for those over 53 and with an insurance period of at least 25 years is being set at 19 months and for those older than 58 with an insurance period of over 28 years at 25 months.
Currently, those over 50 and with a 25-year insurance period are entitled to benefits for 19 months and those over 55 and with 25 years for 25 months.
What is more, those meeting conditions for occupational and regular retirement age retirement will no longer be able to claim the unemployment benefit.
The government is on the other scrapping the financial penalisation of those failing to register as unemployed within three days after being laid off. Presently, the benefit in such cases is only set at 60% as opposed to 80% of the wage average.
Stricter penalising is meanwhile envisaged for those gravely violating the job search requirements of the Employment Service. One grave violation, for instance refusing to partake in an active employment policy programme or rejecting a suitable job, will be enough to get job seekers erased from the registry, while this will also be possible with two minor violations as is the case presently.
Also envisaged are changes for pensioners who perform occasional work. While they can presently work up to 60 hours in a month, an exception is being added that allows up to 90 hours, provided this only happens three times in 12 months and does not amount to more than 720 hours in total.
Foreigners wishing to be registered as unemployed also face stricter conditions. Third-country citizens will need to have at least A1 level command of the Slovenian language to register, while unemployed non-Slovenian EU citizens, citizens of Switzerland and European Economic Area members will have to attend Slovenian language classes and take a basic language skill exam while they are registered.
STA, 27 September - Employer representatives announced at Friday's session of the Economic and Social Council (ESS) they were withdrawing from the industrial relations forum because bills were being filed in parliament without any regard for the forum. The trade unions followed suit and the head of the ZSSS trade union confederation resigned as the ESS president.
The latest development that angered the employers was Wednesday's decision of the Left, an opposition partner of the minority government coalition, to end a deadlock in talks with the coalition and table a bill that would in effect abolish supplementary health insurance and replace it with a progressive levy that would increase costs for employers.
Slovenian Employers' Association (ZDS) secretary general Jože Smole told the STA that this had been just the most recent blow, with the council being completely sidetracked under this government. He went on to list several pertinent legislative proposals, all of which were tabled by the Left.
Smole said it all began with the raising on the minimum wage, continued with the proposal to raise wages for students and later with proposed changes to the labour relations act that would give all parents a paid day off on their child's first school day.
Smole stressed that even though all of these changes had a major impact on the social partners, they had not been supplied with any material, analysis, calculations "on the basis of which we could discuss things, let alone decide on them".
"Social dialogue is dead," he said, adding that legislative proposals could no longer be affected by the social partners once they were filed in parliament.
The ball is now in the court of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, Smole summarised the position of the employers.
Commenting on the situation, Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Ksenija Klampfer told the STA that she had warned the Left on several occasions that "this is not how things should be done".
The filing of bills without coordinating them with the ESS also bothers the representatives of trade unions, who thus joined the employers, the ZSSS's Lidija Jerkič told the STA, adding she also resigned as the council's head. Her term would have expired at the end of October.
The employers said they were withdrawing until further notice, while Klampfer said she would try to solve the situation as soon as possible.
Notably, before suspending the forum, the social partners okayed both legislative proposals on the agenda of the session, one dealing with the minimum monthly unemployment benefit and the other equalising women's and men's pension rates for those with 40 years of pensionable service.
The Labour Ministry wants to increase the minimum monthly unemployment benefit from EUR 275 net to EUR 392 net while simultaneously stiffening conditions.
The proposed EUR 530 gross, or EUR 392 net, would level the minimum unemployment benefit with the basic minimum income for single-person households.
As for the pension rate, the plan is to increase it to 63.5% of the long-term average wage by 2025. This rate is already in place for women, while for men it presently stands at 57.25%.
STA, 19 September 2019 - Finance delves into Slovenian wages in a commentary on Thursday. It looks for reasons why wages are low compared to the west, before concluding that Slovenians in fact do not really want higher pay and everything it entails.
"For me one of Slovenia's big failures is in how low wages are compared to 'western' Europe. Wages reflect know-how, innovativeness, competitiveness, the value of products and services on the global market," the paper says.
In Slovenia political decisions "have always been geared towards low wages. Geared against profit, getting rich and money. Towards equality at low levels" the commentary argues as it berates past bailouts of old industrial companies and progressive taxes.
The second failure is that Slovenians do not even want higher pay. "They are smug in this comfortable space ... They do not need broader horizons, possibilities, challenges changes."
"This is why money is not an animating force for Slovenians ... This is why I roll my eyes whenever I hear that with higher wages, Slovenians - teachers, doctors, managers - would work better. In Slovenia it is exactly the opposite."
Slovenians are "happy at low revs," which is why money is "something for the weirdos, not a general incentive," the paper says in Why I'm Not Giving You Higher Pay (Zakaj vam ne dam višje plače?).
All our stories on pay in Slovenia can be found here
STA, 10 September 2019 - The employment prospects in Slovenia in the final quarter of the year remain favourable, according to the latest employment forecast by temping agency Manpower. Seasonally-adjusted net employment forecast stands at 17%, which is one of the most optimistic forecasts in the region.
"Compared to the previous quarter, the employment prospect is slightly down - for two percentage points - but compared to the same period last year, the forecast remains level," sales manager at Manpower Gašper Kleč told the STA.
The employment prospect for the final quarter is two percentage points lower in quarterly comparison and remains level year-on-year.
The upbeat hiring prospects are a result of the strongest demand for labour in mining and quarrying, and the public sector and social services since the survey started nine years ago. They stand at +20% and +19%, respectively.
Among all ten industries included in the survey, the most notable hiring is expected in manufacturing (+22%) and construction (+21%).
The lowest chances of employment are expected in agriculture, forestry and fishing and the hospitality sector (at +13% each).
Geographically speaking, the strongest demand for workers is expected in the north-western region (+18%). "This is the second consecutive quarter with the employment forecast there since the survey started in 2011," Kleč said.
The hiring prospects are the strongest in middle-sized companies (+27%), while those for small companies are the highest on record (+21%).
But a gap between the demands of employers and expectations of job seekers remain. "This gap is usually created by the deviation from the desired skills or desired pay but also by the demographic changes," said regional head of Manpower Slovenija Aleksandar Hangimana.
The Manpower survey was conducted among 59,000 employers in 44 countries, 43 of whom report a positive hiring outlook for the fourth quarter.
Slovenia's employment prospects are preceded only by Greece's in this region, while globally, Japan, Taiwan, the US and India have the best net employment outlook. Spain, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Costa Rica and Switzerland are at the bottom of the list.
All our stories on employment in Slovenia are here
STA, 24 August 2019 - Having shortened the standard eight-hour workday by two hours, companies Donar and Plastika Skaza have prompted a debate on whether Slovenia should replace the 40-hour working week with a 30-hour one. Trade unions welcome the idea, although they are aware of certain restrictions, whereas employers warn of negative consequences.
In April 2018, Donar, a designer chair manufacturer, became the Slovenian pioneer in shortening the workday without lowering pay or paying lower social security contributions for their employees.
Its director Matej Feguš has told the STA the idea had been in the pipeline for quite some time before it was implemented.
"Having observed the work processes in the company for a while, we realised people worked efficiently for six hours at the most. The goal was to improve productivity, not with more hours but with better-quality work."
He says their employees now have more time for their families and and have fewer problems, so they are consequently more diligent at work. What is more, relations in the company, which now employs 18 workers, have improved.
However, Feguš admits the shorter workday sometimes means that not all the work is done in time, so the company now plans work processes more carefully.
Also, employees get easily used to their new rights, so when the need to work longer actually arises, they have to negotiate with them as if they had to work overtime.
But Feguš believes the greatest benefit of the six-hour workday is that after working for 40 years, people's total workload would be lower by 20%.
"So after 40 years, they could still be active and contribute to society instead of retiring and be lying at home at the expense of the public health fund."
Ferguš is thus rather disappointed that politics has not yet found a way to legislate a six-hour workday.
Donar's example was this year followed by Plastika Skaza, a much larger company with more than 300 employees and around 100 temps.
The Velenje-based producer of plastic kitchenware will phase in a six-hour workday in October, starting with the accounting service department.
The idea is to allow our employees to better balance their work and private life, Aleksandra Logar, human resources head at Plastika Skaza, told the STA in June.
Although the 40-hour week is the standard rule in Slovenia, labour legislation allows for a shorter, 36-hour, working week, if the employer and employees agree on it in a collective bargaining agreement.
But not all Slovenian employers are thrilled at the prospect of a shorter workday.
Lina Fratnik Andrić of the Slovenian Association of Employers (ZDS) writes in the Delodajalec magazine about Sweden's experience at an elderly home and a hospital.
While the nursing staff and surgeons improved the quality of services and felt happier, more staff had to be hired to do the same amount of work, so labour costs rose.
Fratnik Andrić also says that the 35-hour working week introduced in France several years ago has failed to result in a higher employment rate.
"On the contrary, the number of workers taking two jobs has increased, and the actual working week has remained at 39 hours," she explains.
She nevertheless admits that work processes have radically changed since the 40-hour week was introduced, so new forms of work will have to be put forward.
She believes working at home and flexible work arrangements are two options to facilitate a better balance between work and other life roles.
With automation on the one hand and work becoming ever more intense on the other, Slovenian trade unions have made a shorter workday one of their goals a while ago.
Lidija Jerkič, head of the ZSSS confederation, believes a shorter workday has a positive impact on efficiency and safety at work, as well as on social life and health.
Still, she is cautious, noting that a six-hour workday would not increase employment and reduce costs in all branches of industry.
"If you have a one-shift company, productivity would increase if they do the same amount of work as in eight hours without hiring new staff, and they will save on electricity and heating bills.
"But if you have a company working in four shifts, fixed costs will remain the same, while workers for an entire new shift would have to be hired, which would considerably raise labour costs although productivity would perhaps improve," says the trade unionist.
She explains that the unions proposed a 35-hour working week to employers in the metal and electronics industries ten years ago, "but the answer was simply no".
"Unfortunately, the debate is now going in a completely different direction. Despite the legislated full 40- or 36-hour workday, workday is in practice totally out of control. Many workers work more than the weekday, they put in more overtime than allowed under the law, and have no breaks or rest."
Meanwhile, the ministry in charge of labour says there has been no serious debate on the issue among the government, unions and employers.
Introducing a six-hour workday, if it is to increase productivity, depends primarily on the type of business and the manner in which work is organised, the ministry has told the STA.
STA, 12 August 2019 - Less than half of young women in Slovenia are happy with their current standard of living and many are unhappy at work and ready to move abroad in search of better job opportunities, a survey has found.
The survey, conducted among 500 women in the ages between 20 and 35 as part of a project designed to improve the position of women in the labour market, found that only 35% have a job agreeing with the level and type of their education.
Nine out of ten of those questioned believe that there should be more contacts with potential employers during the education process and seven out of ten say they did not receive any career counselling.
More than a half (57%) would prefer to work in the public sector due to greater job security it offers, while 29% would want to work in the corporate sector and 14% would prefer to work for an NGO.
As many as 44% are unhappy with their current job and only 41% are happy about their pay. Among the unhappy ones, one in three expects their pay to improve and one in five do not expect a rise.
Nefiks, an educational institute which conducted the survey, commented that young women are proactive in seeking work, but still they have it hard to get right jobs.
"Many are willing to work outside their field of education or commute more than 20 kilometres to work, taking jobs below their education. Although 44% of them would prefer much more to work at home, they are even willing to move abroad if they don't get an opportunity," said Nefiks.
Similarly, only 47% of the respondents, including students who are generally happier, are happy with their current standard of living.
The survey also suggests that 44% of young women are not planning a family or do not want it, which Nefiks says is a high proportion, given that the respondents are of childbearing age.
Only 7% say that employment is not an important factor in deciding to have a family.
Women above 30 think they have fewer job opportunities because they are too old to qualify for benefits under the Youth Guarantee scheme, something that the survey confirmed.
This group of women has spent longer finding a job and less than a half of them are happy at their job. Moreover, 70% believe they did not get enough work experience during their school education. They also have housing difficulties.
STA, 8 August 2019 - Demand for new workers in the April-to-June period was the strongest in construction, when the sector's job vacancy rate - showing how many vacancies were advertised by employers - reached 6.2%.
Around 3,800 vacancies were advertised in construction, which was followed by manufacturing (over 3,700) and commerce (over 2,500), latest Statistics Office data show.
Meanwhile, the overall job vacancy rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point to 2.3% over the previous quarter and by 0.3 points over the second quarter in 2018.
This means that the number of job vacancies dropped by around 1,400 to slightly more than 18,500 from the January-to-March period.
Demand for new labour force decreased the most in manufacturing and trade, by around 300 job vacancies in each of them (-0.4 points).
On the other hand, the number of occupied posts has continued to rise ever since the second quarter of 2014, the figures released on Thursday show.
Around 772,100 posts were occupied in the second quarter, 5,700 more than in the first one. 81.5% of all occupied posts were at companies with 10 or more workers.
The number of occupied posts increased the most in construction (+1,500) and trade (+1,000).