As Christmas approaches Czechs are taking the shops by storm and salespeople are anticipating high profits. With almost no restrictions on opening hours, Czechs can shop till they drop, but that may be about to change. The lower house is preparing to debate a bill which would force supermarkets and shopping malls to close down for the holidays.
The Czech Union of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners would like more young people to join their ranks in order to stop the steady decline in their numbers, the head of the union, Jan Hinterholzinger, said. The organization now has some 150,000 members, down from around 250,000 in the year 2000. Their numbers were even higher during communism when allotment gardening was one of the most popular pastimes. The average age of the union’s members is now between 60 and 70. The gardeners’ union would also like Parliament to pass legislation that would recognize gardening as a publicly beneficial activity, a status gardeners enjoy in several other EU countries.
For many unemployed people in the Czech Republic, getting a job is not an option. A new study by the government Agency for Social Inclusion found that accepting a low-paying job in some cases lowers the overall income of the family. That’s why many people on welfare feel little motivation to get a job. I spoke to the agency’s Alena Zieglerová.
Over 60 percent of Czechs believe that work opportunities, social certainty and personal safety were greater prior to the fall of communism, suggests an opinion poll by CVVM published on Tuesday. By contrast, respondents expressed satisfaction with the amount of freedom they now enjoy; around 80 percent of those polled said that opportunities to study and work abroad had improved since 1989, as had access to free information. Two-thirds of those polled said they thought the political changes had been “worth it”.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic dropped by 0.2 percentage point month-on-month to 7.1 percent in October, the Labour Office said on Monday. The situation on the labour market is influenced by the economic revival and ongoing seasonal work in gastronomy, construction, tourism and agriculture. In the coming months, unemployment is expected to stagnate or grow moderately with the gradual decrease in seasonal work and the ending of fixed-term work contracts, the Labour Office said.
Breaking down traditional stereotypes of what jobs should be done by males and females is not a mainstream issue or priority in the Czech Republic. So while there seems to have been some progress in getting women in traditional male sectors, and vice versa, the advances have not been dramatic. In this week’s marketplace, we look at the very different ways Norway and the Czech Republic have tackled the problem.
The Prague-based CERGE-EI institute on Tuesday presented the results of international research examining how competencies and skills contribute to the success on the domestic labour market. The OECD survey was carried out over the past two years in 24 European countries, including the Czech Republic. While Czechs did pretty well when comparing skills internationally, those seem to have very little impact when measuring success on the labour market. I spoke to Petr Matějů, co-author of the study, and first asked him what particular skills the research
The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry is preparing a proposal for scrapping the second pillar of the pension system, introduced by the former center-right cabinet of prime minister Petr Nečas, which would cushion the impact on those affected by the move. Under the proposal, people who joined the second pillar would be allowed to transfer not only the money they invested but would get to keep the state’s contribution to their social security insurance as well. The government has yet to decide on when the second pillar will be scrapped. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka favours January 2016 but Finance Minister Andrej Babiš’ ANO party is advising caution for fear that the move could spark a wave of legal complaints both from clients and financial institutions.
The Czech government has outlined the core parametres of its kurzarbeit plan, aimed at helping firms and employees hit hard, for example, by EU-Russian sanctions or by a natural disaster. Under the plan, employees in times of difficulty could receive 70 percent of their regular wages, with 20 percent being paid from the state budget and 50 percent being paid by the employer. Each application by companies would be assessed and approved by the cabinet.
The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Equality report which reflects the changing patterns of gender equality around the world has seen the Czech Republic slip to 96th place on a ladder of 142 countries. Its present ranking, below countries such as Russia and Uganda, has raised concern and highlighted the fact that progress on gender equality issues has be slow and inadequate. I asked Nina Bosničová of Gender Studies to outline the major problems.
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia ahead of model’s 60th anniversary
15 years later – was ending military service right move for Czech Republic?