Czech MPs have taken two weeks to finalize a civil service act, following a breakthrough compromise on the legislation reached by the coalition and opposition parties earlier this week. However, the latest deal has already drawn fire from some quarters for not going far enough to de-politicize the state bureaucracy
In Business News this week: Agriculture Ministry to help producers affected by Russian sanctions; Czech unemployment remains unchanged despite 11,000 new jobs; Czech crown falls to five-year low against euro; central bank to curb capital outflow from foreign banks’ Czech subsidiaries; and beer productions rises slightly between January and June.
The Czech jobless rate stagnated at 7.4 percent in July, despite analyst expectations of a slight increase. In July, the number of those unemployed was just over five hundred and forty-one thousand, up by almost 11,000 year-on-year, according to the Employment Office. Job vacancies, meanwhile, have risen over a period of several months. The coming months, could nevertheless see an increase as seasonal work wraps up. The unemployment rate had fallen steadily since January when it stood at 8.6 percent.
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.
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