The Czech government has formally begun preparing new legislation, which will assist socially disadvantaged groups in finding employment in Czech businesses and public institutions. Presently, employers seeking to add handicapped or homeless staff to their ranks do so without a precise legal framework.
Prague has the highest salaries in the Czech Republic, with people in the capital earning an average of CZK 31,000 a month, according to figures released by the website Platy.cz and quoted by the Czech News Agency. The national average wage is CZK 24,806 a month. People in Ostrava, the third largest city, make an average of CZK 22,300 monthly, which is less than in smaller centres such as Plzeň, Liberec and Pardubice. Platy.cz’s study was based on data from 100,000 users of the site.
The Czech Republic has the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the EU, after the Netherlands, Germany and Austria, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Monday. In 2013 the Czech Republic had an average 7 percent unemployment rate, compared with the EU average of 11 percent. On the other hand, the country has one of the lowest number of employed working in part time jobs – 5.8 percent as compared to 50 percent in the Netherlands, and ranks sixth as regards the number of employed men over 55 years of age -62.6 percent. As regards the number of employed women over 55 – 41.4 percent -the Czech Republic is below the EU average now at 43.3 percent.
The Czech government is to sign a deal with the South Korean company Hyundai Mobis on the construction of a four billion crown plant for the production of car headlights in Mošnov, north Moravia. The construction of the plant should start in summer 2015, and be finished in nine to ten months. It is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs in an area where unemployment is traditionally high. Hyundai, which has promised to invest into the local infrastructure, will be eligible to corporate income tax relief for ten consecutive years.
The Czech government has approved extending a freeze on the wages of top public officials up until 2018. The proposal, put forward by the Labour Ministry, would see the wages of the president, government ministers, senators, deputies and judges kept on their present level for another four years after a previous freeze expires at the end of 2014. The only exemption is a one percent valorisation due to inflation. The proposal, which still has to pass through Parliament, would affect some 4,000 people.
According to inside sources close to the government, the Social Democrats traded their support for Věra Jourová’s nomination to the post of EU commissioner for a higher minimal wage growth and more money for the social services sphere in 2015. The ANO party, which holds the finance ministry portfolio, has nodded to both. The Social Democrats want a minimal wage hike by 700 crowns a month, as opposed to the proposed 500 crown increase, and want to pump 750 million crowns more into the sphere of social services.
The Czech Labour Office has been cleared to take on around 600 new staff by the end of the year. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová has said many of the new staff will be directed to make sure that increasing social welfare payments are not being abused. State spending on emergency welfare payments rose by around a third last year to total more than 10 billion crowns. The ministry estimates that the extra checks could results in 5-10 percent savings on the budgets of some welfare payments.
An audit at government ministries run by the Social Democrats has discovered suspicious deals worth around two billion crowns, Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka told a news conference on Friday. Around half of the potentially wasted funds is related to several problematic IT deals of the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. Mr Sobotka said the situation in the state administration was worse than expected, and blamed the problems on past Czech governments. The prime minister and his team has reviewed four ministries controlled by the Social Democrats; Mr Sobotka said that audits would continue. A review of six ministries controlled by the ANO party earlier this year found suspicious deals worth 16 billion crowns.
Czech trade unions have threatened to stage protests if public employees are not granted a 3.5 percent pay rise next year. The Czech centre-left government has promised to increase salaries in the public sector by 3.5 percent in 2015 but union leaders say the rise is not planned for all public workers. The head of the Czech trade union association, Josef Středula, said they would raise the issue with government officials by the end of July and in early September when draft state budget for next year is to be finalized. If their demands are not met, they are ready to launch protests in the following months, Mr Středula said.
The Czech unemployment rate slipped by 0.1 of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in June, the national labour office announced on Tuesday. The overall total of those without work still stands above half a million at just over 537,000. The latest fall is said to be largely due to recruitment for summer jobs and the ongoing recovery in the economy. The unemployment total has been dropping consistently since January.