3.2 Administration and governance
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Employment policies in North Macedonia are defined within the Program of the Government of Republic of Macedonia 2020-2024 (Програма за работа на Владата на Република Северна Македонија во периодот 2020-2024), (revised) Employment and Social Reform Programme 2022, and National Employment Strategy 2021-2027 with the Action Plan for employment 2021-2023. The Action Plan for Youth Employment 2016-2020 (Акциски план за вработување млади лица 2016-2020) has expired, a new Action plan has not been adopted.
In the Program of the Government of Republic of Macedonia 2020-2024 it is stated that: The main task of this Government will be to restore the confidence of young people in a certain and secure future in our country, by pursuing targeted policies to increase youth employment. In this regard, the program is foreseen following measures:
• Extension of the payment of 3000 denars per month as a youth allowance for employed young people up to 23 years with completed at least secondary education working in production
• Personal income tax refund for all new employees under 30, in the first two years where the funds will be returned directly to their account
• Tax exemption for all newly established private enterprises, formed by young people up to 30 years or women, as long as the turnover is below 3 million denars
• Direct support of youth and women entrepreneurship through grants in the amount of 5000 to 15000 euros for starting their own and new business
• Establishment of a Fund for Young Minds which will include young people who have left the country and have proven and achieved results in science, business, and other fields. They will be engaged as mentors of children and youth from the homeland
• Law on Youth Guarantee, which will institutionalize this form of support for young people to employment
• Establishment of a scholarship fund for young people for the needs of handicrafts
• Intensified practical teaching in secondary vocational schools, through models of cooperation with the unions of chambers of commerce and local self-government, as well as youth competitions for entrepreneurship
• Cooperation of the so-called triple helix, where universities, the business community and the Government together prepare curricula that will be a real response to the needs and demands of the labor market
• Law on Support of Social Entrepreneurship, with a focus on youth and women, and the opening of three centers for support of social enterprises
• Opening the possibility for full-time students to enter full-time employment, a certain number of hours - an option available to students in most European countries.
In the Employment and Social Reforms Programme 2022 one of the goals is to improve youth employment and promote more and better jobs for young people. The foreseen measures for achieving the goal are: further strengthening of the coverage and participation of young unemployed persons in the design and implementation of services and active employment measures. Strengthening the system; Strengthening the system of profiling young unemployed persons when registering them within the Employment Service Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia in order to assess and identify the possibilities for employment and prioritize the interventions and others.
The National Employment Strategy 2021-2027 is prepared with the technical support of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The National Employment Strategy is accompanied by the Youth Guarantee, the implementation plan of which will be reformulated in 2022 to take into account the progress made, the impact of the pandemic on youth employment and the adjustments introduced in the EU Youth Support Program (or the Reinforced Youth Guarantee). This is also reflected in the three-year Action Plan attached to the Strategy.
Starting from 2007, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy annually creates Operational Plans for Active Programs and Measures for Employment. The Operational Plan sets out the annual priorities of employment policies through the implementation of active employment programs and services. The holder of the Operational Plan is MLSP, and its implementation is in the competence of the Employment Service Agency of Republic of North Macedonia in partnership with other responsible institutions. It is important to note that the Operational Plans do not apply exclusively to young people but they always place special emphasis on young unemployed persons up to 29 years of age. At the government press conference, the new Operational Plan for Employment for 2021 (Оперативен план за активни програми и мерки за вработување и услуги на пазарот на трудот за 2021 година) was presented. The Operational Plan for Employment in 2021 was changed twice. First in July 2021 the Operational plan underwent some changes (Ревидиран оперативен план за активни мерки за вработување и услуги на пазарот на трудот за 2021 година). Only changes were made in the budget items of the sources of financing but the final budget is unchanged and for 2021 is 1.5 billion MKD. After the second revision in September 2021 (Ревидиран оперативен план за активни програми и мерки за вработување и услуги на пазарот на трудот за 2021 година) the total budget increased 1.80 billion MKD which is the highest amount so far. The measures focus on further qualification, self-employment, digital skills and internship.
This program is not specifically created for young people, but it also covers them. The Operational Plan for 2021 puts special emphasis on the young unemployed up to 29 years, the long-term unemployed as well as the beneficiaries of guaranteed minimum assistance. All registered unemployed persons and employers have access to the programs, ie employment measures and services. The right to participate is determined based on the conditions and criteria defined for each individual program or measure and service for employment, and as a general rule will strive to achieve equal representation of men and women, in accordance with the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. as well as participation of young people up to 29 years of at least 30%.
 See more Program for Employment and Social Policy Reforms 2022. Government of the Republic of Macedonia (Skopje, 2017), https://www.mtsp.gov.mk/content/pdf/dokumenti/2020/1.4_esrp.pdf (Accessed November 10, 2020)
The following public actors are involved in the process of creation and implementation of youth employment and entrepreneurship policies:
- Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (main authority)
- Ministry of Education and Science
- Ministry of Information Society and Administration
- Ministry of Finances
- Ministry of Economy
- Employment Service Agency
- Center for Vocational Education and Training
- Center for Education of Adults
- Agency for Promotion of the Entrepreneurship of the Republic of North Macedonia
- Centers for social work
- Agency for Youth and Sport
North Macedonia's Governmental institutions also cooperate with the UNDP office in North Macedonia, USAID office in North Macedonia, World Bank, ILO, Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Organization of Employers of North Macedonia and others.
A key remark for government institutions is that, when youth employment policies are adopted, youth and youth organizations are rarely consulted about the development of such policies. There were several consultations with the National Youth Council of Macedonia on the Operative plan for employment 2018 and 2019 and for the revision of the Action plan for Youth Employment 2016-2020 but other than that, there weren’t any other collaborations. It’s important to mention that institutions are not obliged to incorporate the ideas from these consultations.
The Employment Service Agency and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy are responsible institutions for monitoring the implementation of the active measures for employment, in order to provide accurate information about their success. The effectiveness of Active Labor Market Measures (ALMM) in the country is most often analyzed by evaluating the results at the end of the duration of the measures, for example, the percentage of employed young people upon completion of internship. The National Employment Strategy envisages, on an annual basis, a working group led by the MLSP to inform the Government on the progress in the implementation of the Strategy.
Young people were included in the evaluation process of the youth employment measures by the International Labor Organizations, in accordance with the “Impact evaluation of active labor market programs in FYR Macedonia: key findings”, through survey targeting beneficiaries from the measures (treatment group) and non-beneficiaries (control group). However, the authors reported relatively low response on the survey and got mixed and ambiguous results.