3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market
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There are two long-term measures available to young people in Slovakia, developed under the management of the MLSAF:
- 'Graduate practice' (Absolventská prax) is from 3 to 6 months long practice at an employer aiming at deepening of expertise and gaining of practical experience in a respective field (Act on Employment Services, § 51).
- 'Support for the first job' (Príspevok na podporu vytvorenia pracovného miesta v prvom pravidelne platenom zamestnaní) means a financial contribution paid to an employer, who is supposed to create a new working place for a young person (younger than 25 and unemployed at least for 3 months or younger than 29 and unemployed for at least 6 months) and maintain it for a period from 6 to 12 months. (Act on Employment Services, § 51 a).
Within the Operational Programme Human Resources 2014 - 2020 (Priority Axis 2: Youth Employment Initiative) several financial contributions were provided to unemployed (including young) people, in order to support work travel, work mobility (to cover the lodging costs) and self-employment. There are also several services and support measures available also to young people, such as
- information and counselling on occupational choices;
- expert guidance, including creation of individual action plans;
- education and training of employees – new expert knowledge, skills and abilities for the labour market
Within the projects implemented in the framework of the Youth Guarantee SR in the period 2012 – 2020, there were more than 100 000 young people supported thourough various activities which led to the main output: support employment of young people.
The financial contribution provided to support first working places, tested within the Youth Guarantee SR projects, has been included among provisions of §51a of the Act on Social Services.
The new operational programme Slovakia for the programming period 2021 – 2027 will strenghten the support to young people especially thourough one-stop-shop places where young people will receive at one place all integrated services to help them find the first job and to ensure that the job is decent.
The programme will also promote creating of local partnerships between local employers, public employment services, schools, municipalities, NGOs and others relevants partners, which should led to establishment of local acting groups in view to help disadvantaged young people.
Currently, there are no flexicurity measures aimed specifically at young people implemented in Slovakia.
Still, some measures available also to youth – such as establishment of the 'Working time account' by the Slovak Labour Code or provision of financial contribution to all parents with no regard to their employment – have been reflected by the Slovak legislation already (Trexima, 2016). Similarly, the reform of VET has been launched. But the reform of school system has not been sorted yet and the system of life-long-learning, as well as active measures of the labour market still do not mean an essential change to young unemployed people.
Currently, there are no measures focusing on reconciliation of private and working life specifically for young people implemented in Slovakia.
Young people, equally to the other employees, are entitled to make use of shorter working hours, shared working place or home office/teleworking, which are covered by the provisions of the Slovak Labour Code.
In 2015, the national project 'Family and work' (Rodina a práca) was tested, focusing on support of the use of flexible forms of work by mothers with children younger than 10 years. The project was also aimed at several support activities, such as establishment of nurseries and children corners directly at firms, provision of financial contributions to cover cost of nannies, consultation and counselling services for employers in the field of reconciliation of private and working life of their employees – mothers. The MLSAF has announced continuation of this project during the programming period 2014 – 2020.
The new project 'The reconciliation of work and family life' (Zosúladenie rodinného a pracovného života) will finish in 2021 and its outcomes will be evaluated. This project is very important especially for the matter of young unemployed women who has more difficulties to find a decent job not only when they have already children but also before. This project financed within the European Social Fund led the Slovak government to plan an update of the Slovak code in 2021 to promote fathers`parental leave to increase the equality between women and men in the matter of share between work and family life.
Measures promoting youth employment financed by the sources of the state budget in 2019
National programmes focused on the development of active policies of the labour market and on enhancement of youth employability received funding amounting to 30 546 174 € (COLSAF, Annual report 2019, p 129, Table E). Expenditures spent on two permanent measures focused on young people – 'graduate practice' and 'support of the first working place/post' – amounted to 15.2 % from the total. In 2019, the measure 'graduate practice' was used by 3 575 young people and they received the total financial contributions of 1 977 147€. In 2019, the overall financial contribution supporting creation of the first working places/posts amounted to 2 676 457 € and it was spent in favour of 751 young people (COLSAF, Annual report 2019, p 11).
Measures promoting youth employment financed by the sources of the ESF
There is 10 national projects supported within the Priority Axis 2: Youth Employment Initiative of the Operational programme Human Resources, aimed at graduate practice, inforal education (requalification; increasing of competences), mentoring, professional practice, creation of a working place/post and support of self-employment of young unemployed people.
The total financial allocation within the Priority Axis 2 amounts to 287 701 523 €, out of which
- 64 171 912,99 € is allocated within the Youth Employment Initiative/ the Youth Guarantee SR;
- 166 655 943,61 € is allocated within the ESF;
- 56 873 667,1 € is allocated from sources of the state budget (MLSAF, 2019).
The evaluation results of measures focused on employment solution for (not only young) people are published in Yearly Reports produced by the COLSAF and in reports of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic.
Only the following results have been monitored, so far:
- the number of participants and expenditures spent;
- the age of participants;
- the sex of participants;
- the highest completed level of education;
- the terms of unemployment before inclusion of a participant to the respective measure;
- if relevant – the number of working places/posts created
In case of projects supported by the ESF it has also been monitored, whether graduates were still included on the labour market after the respective project end.
The following has still been missing in Slovakia:
- A systemic tool for feedback from young people participating on the projects;
- An assessment of not only efficiency and effectiveness, but also of the policies design and quality of their implementation.
- An opportunity to change a measure or terminate its financing upon quality assessment results on the level of outputs.