In Business News this week: Czech central bank predicts labour market improvement; Czech Republic increasingly attractive for international manufacturers; car production up by 11 pct between January and September; railway operator ČD Cargo doubles profit but loses market share; and developer Orco leaves Prague stock exchange.
The centre-left government has approved an increase in the minimal monthly wage to 9,200 crowns starting next year. The minimal wage was upped by 700 crowns. The move was strongly advocated by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who argued that it was essential to motivate people to work rather than staying on the dole. The cabinet’s decision was unanimous despite opposition from employers. The minimal wage was last raised in August of 2013 by 500 crowns.
The national unemployment rate remained at 7.4 percent in August, the same figured registered in the third consecutive month, according to figures released by the country’s Labour Office on Monday. More than 535,000 jobs seekers were registered in that month. The jobless rate stagnated despite the fact that there were nearly 55,000 vacancies in August, some 14,000 more than in the same month previous year. The Labour Office expects that unemployment levels will stagnate or rise slightly in the coming months due to the arrivals of graduates to the labour market and the end of seasonal labour.
Government officials, trade union leaders and employers have failed to agree on a hike of minimal wage by CZK 700. Employers have opposed the Social Democratic proposal, arguing that the government and trade unions had previously agreed to a CZK 500 rise from the present 8,500 crowns to 9,000, starting from January 2015. Prime Minister Sobotka said the decision about the minimal wage was up to the government.
The Social Affairs and Labour Ministry is drafting a proposed amendment to the law which should help the parents of twins, triplets and other multiples who are financially disadvantaged under the present system of state aid. Under the proposal the state would cover the expenses for a nanny and increase the one-off state bonus for the birth of two or more children. According to Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová Tominová it is unfair and illogical that the parents of more children from one birth are financially worse off than parents who have the same number of children in succession. The problem was highlighted in particular with the birth of quintuplets to a Czech mother last year.
Employees at the country’s highly-respected National Theatre can expect a little extra next year when it comes to their monthly paychecks. Funds, allowing for a salary rise for the institution’s employees, were agreed recently by the country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, and Culture Minister Daniel Herman. At the same time, it is clear that salary bump, long-term, is being seen as not enough.
The Czech Supreme Court has ruled that parents of children of up to 15 years of age are entitled to part-time jobs, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported. Hearing a case of a clerk of Liberec City Hall who was fired over insisting on working part time, the court said employers had to accommodate parents’ requests for part-time contracts unless it would jeopardize the functioning of the firm or office. The verdict is seen as a breakthrough in the practice of Czech employers who have in the past been reluctant in granting part-time contracts to their employees.
The government working group tasked with cushioning the impact of the Ukraine crisis and escalating sanctions on Czech companies has proposed state help for firms putting employees on short-time work as its main recommendation. The group argues such help could avoid massive lay-offs if the worst happens with the framework in place for future emergencies as well as the current one.
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