3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market
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The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2018 decided to introduce the Youth Guarantee in order to provide young people (15-29) for a period of 4 months, offer for employment, continuing education and training, or internship.
At the 53rd session of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia (Записник од 53 седница на Владата на Република Македонија) held on 6.2.2018, the Government adopted the following conclusion: The Government reviewed the latest text of the Information with the text of the Plan for implementation of the Youth Guarantee (first phase 2018 - 2019) and the Action Plan for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in three pilot municipalities in 2018, adopted the Information, and accepted the latest text of the Plan for implementation of the Youth Guarantee (first phase 2018 - 2019).
In 2018, the piloting of the Youth Guarantee was carried out in three employment centers: Gostivar, Strumica and Skopje, by involving young people who are not employed, nor are they involved in education or training (NEET). In 2019, the Youth Guarantee was implemented in the whole country with special emphasis on the following regions: Northeastern, Southwestern and Polog region, as one of the most vulnerable regions regarding the NEET youth.
Having in mind the success of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, in November 2019 a Plan for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee 2020-2022 was adopted (План за имплементација на Гаранција за млади 2020-2022). In the period from 2020 to 2022, the Youth Guarantee was implemented throughout the country and aimed at all young people in the age group of 15 to 29 who are legally residing in North Macedonia and are not employed and not involved in education or training. In 2023, a new Plan for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee for the period of 2023-2026 (План за спроведување на Гаранција за млади 2023-2026) was adopted, continuing the commitment for enhancing young people’s access to the labor market.
In 2023, according to the Operational Plan for Active Programs and Measures for Employment and Services in the Labor Market for 2023 (Оперативен план за активни програми и мерки за вработување и услуги на пазарот на трудот 2023) the implementation of the Youth Guarantee will continue to be implemented throughout the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, with a special emphasis on NEET-young people (people who are unemployed, not involved in education or training).
The planned coverage of participants in the Youth Guarantee in the entire territory of the Republic of North Macedonia is about 10,000 young people.
Access to the Youth Guarantee was possible by registering at one of the local employment centers of the Employment Agency. NEET young people who will be identified through field activities will have the opportunity to pre-register online through a dedicated website that will be made available to young field workers.
The Youth Guarantee provides following services:
• Professional orientation and career counseling
• Motivational trainings
• Individual and group counseling
• Job search training
The Youth Guarantee foreseen the following employment measures:
• Subsidies for employment of young people
• Incentives for hiring young people with disabilities
The Youth Guarantee also provides different training courses and practice packages for young people (up to 29 years).
Institutional arrangements and partnership approaches that were piloted in 2018-2019 will remain unchanged, as they have proven to be successful during the pilot phase: Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (as the main coordinative body for the Youth Guarantee), Employment Service Agency, Ministry of Education and Science, Center for Adult Education, National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility, Agency for Youth and Sports and non-governmental organizations working with youth as well as Employers 'and workers' organizations (social partners).
The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy within the Youth Guarantee is responsible for coordinating and monitoring the implementation and specific interventions included in the implementation plan of the Youth Guarantee.
The Ministry of Education and Science within the Youth Guarantee is responsible for accelerating educational reforms already planned at primary, secondary and high level; to introduce second-chance programs for young people and adults that need to acquire recognized qualifications to advance in the education system or to enter the labor market; to establish and upgrade the Education Information System in order to monitor the students' success, to detect early school leavers, and to allow aggregation of administrative data (referring to NEET identification).
The Employment Agency (ESA) will be responsible for providing activation services and labor market integration measures for young people (15-29) registered in the Youth Guarantee.
The Center for Adult Education is responsible for expanding the opportunities for young beneficiaries of the Youth Guarantee to return to the education system and recognized qualifications.
The National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility will work on the promotion and implementation of European programs in the field of education, training, youth and sports in the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
The Agency for Youth and Sports and non-governmental organizations working with young people will be responsible for organizing and implementing outreach services for excluded young people and providing assistance with registration in the GM system for providing services.
Employers and workers organizations (social partners) will contribute to the implementation of the country's Youth Guarantee policy framework. Employers 'organizations will be responsible for gaining support from their membership to increase employment and training opportunities for young people, while workers' organizations will be responsible for ensuring the quality of offers made to young people within the Youth Guarantee scheme.
In relation to the simplified hiring of workers in temporary, occasional and seasonal work engagements, it was indicated that at the moment analyzes have been made in relation to this issue, and a working group will be formed in which all relevant stakeholders will be included. The foreseen plan is to adopt a legal solution that will cover unemployed persons, students over 15 years of age, students, pensioners, beneficiaries of guaranteed minimum assistance and persons in employment who perform additional work.
The activities of agriculture, catering, tourism and personal services and services in the home are covered as well. The goal is to strengthen and protect workers and formalize informal work.
In the Operational Plan for Active Labor Market Programs and Measures 2023 several employment measures are outlined. The following measure are not exclusively provided for young people, but young people up to 34 were one of the target groups: Digital Skills Development Program: The aim of this program is to upgrade the skills of youth unemployed in the field of IT technologies; Internship with aim to gain work related skills and knowledge for specific workplaces; Self-employment program: The aim of this program is to support the unemployed to start their own business; Support for creating new jobs as a measure that should influence the promotion of the employment of unemployed persons in micro, small and medium enterprises, social enterprises that are primarily targeted towards social/societal goals; Support of employment of unemployed persons who are hardly involved in the labor market traineeships.
The term “flexicurity” is relatively unknown in North Macedonia and we cannot say that it is implemented as a full concept.
One of the changes they proposed was the change of the Law on Labor Relations. In line with the trend of “flexicurity” that is current and practiced in Europe in response to the financial crisis, and given the nature of the work of CSO’s that have economic activity and socially-owned enterprises, a change in the Law on Labor is needed in terms of regulating flexible working hours (for example: the possibility of concluding a working relationship for two hours or six hours and appropriate insurance of the same), as well as more flexible conditions for termination of such employment from the existing one.
Also, the work of civil society organizations engaged in economic activity and social enterprises provides work in the client’s home (for example, care for frail people) or work from home or remotely (for example, people with disabilities who program software for people with disabilities) which is prohibited by the existing Law on Labor Relations, and that’s why some CSOs are demanding a change of the law.
In June 2018, Macedonian government adopted Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Labor Relations (Закон за изменување и дополнување на Законот за работни односи), and then in October 2020 new amendments (Закон за изменување на Законот за работни односи), but the proposed changes are not incorporated in the new law.
Regarding this issue, there are certain provisions in the Law on Labor Relations. Thus, Article 18, item 3 stipulates that the Employer is obliged to provide protection for young persons from economic exploitation and from any work that could have a detrimental effect on their safety, health, physical, mental, moral or social development or they can threaten their education.
The Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan for 2023-2025 foresees 55.710.570 euros for the implementation of measures for youth employment, which is a significant increase compared to the previous implementation period 2020-2022 (30.5 million euros).
The Operational Plan for Active Programs and Measures for Employment and Services in the Labor Market for 2023 has a total of 1.972.045.915 MKD for funding, which is an increase in comparison with previous year, when the budget for implementation of the measures was 1.856.923.390 . It’s important to mention that this amount is not exclusively intended for youth employment measures, but for employment measures for all populations in the country.
 Operational Plan for Active Programs and Measures for Employment and Services in the Labor Market 2023, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (Skopje, 2023), https://av.gov.mk/content/%D0%9E%D0%9F/%D0%9E%D0%9F-2023%20%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D1%83%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B5%D0%BD%20%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%92%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B0%20%D0%BD%D0%B0%20%D0%A0%D0%A1%D0%9C.docx (Accessed July 21, 2023)
 Revised Operational Plan for Active Programs and Measures for Employment and Services in the Labor Market 2022, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (Skopje, 2022), https://av.gov.mk/content/pdf/FINALEN%20OP%202022.pdf (Accessed July 14, 2023)