For many years productivity levels in the Czech Republic lagged behind the country's neighbors to the west. But the latest statistics suggest that Czech workers are now working more efficiently. Productivity levels have reached the average for the world's most industrialized countries. Maida Agovic has been looking more closely at the newly released figures.
Heads of companies whose securities are traded on the Czech capital markets will have to make public their remunerations; MP Lubomir Zaoralek has been given responsibility for drawing up a recommended code of conduct for legislators; SachsenFonds buys four office blocks for EUR 125 million; Employment agencies no longer allowed to contract out students for short-term project-based work.
The Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs has reported that the Czech unemployment level in July rose from 9.9 to 10.1 percent, meaning that some 532, 000 people at the end of the month were officially without work. But, say some Czech economists the labour market is slowly but surely improving - as higher unemployment numbers for July were originally expected. Meanwhile, new tabulation methods used by the majority of EU states, now being adopted by the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, ranks Czech unemployment lower at 9.2 percent.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic remained flat at 9.9 percent of the workforce in June, the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said on Monday. Most analysts had predicted a slight rise compared to May to 10 percent. Economists attribute the flat rate to a fall in the number of school leavers this year and the availability of seasonal work.
Just before eight o'clock on Monday morning, passengers on some public transport buses in Prague could hear the drivers talking to the control centre for longer than usual. They drivers were making last minute confirmations with the control centre whether or not they were going to take part in a planned 20-minute strike during the morning rush-hour.
The Czech cabinet has approved draft legislation which abolishes thirteenth and fourteenth month salaries, a form of bonus given to civil servants in the summer and at the end of the year. Instead, the draft proposes to replace the two extra salaries with only 20% of one monthly wage, divided among the twelve salaries in the year. The cabinet also decided to deprive judges, MPs, ministers, and state representatives, of their fourteenth month salary as early as this year. Both draft laws are yet to be approved by parliament and signed by the president. Civil service unions, who oppose the draft, have said they are confident the proposed legislation would not make it through parliament.
The Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach has said he would resign if he fails to push through higher pensions and family benefits for next year. Under a coalition agreement pensions should grow by 500 to 600 crowns and benefits for families with children should also increase by several hundred crowns. Altogether the higher pensions and benefits should cost the state an additional 13 to 14 billion crowns. According to minister Skromach the state can afford it since state budget revenues are growing.
On Thursday the Czech Senate approved a government bill aimed at both lowering unemployment numbers but also improving benefits for those unable to find long-term work. On the one hand the bill, which was approved by 38 out of 70 senators present, will make it difficult for recipients to receive benefits if they refuse, for example, re-qualification training or a medical exam to which they had previously agreed. At the same time, under the new bill, those on unemployment will be allowed to earn up to half the minimum wage without losing unemployment benefits.
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