3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market
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Subsidies aiming to foster youth employment:
Through programs to foster employment, the ESS enables subsides or partial reimbursement of expenses to be provided to employers for hiring new employees. Each year the government implements measures within the active employment policy, which also target young people.
The Act on Intervention Measures in the Field of the Labor Market and Parental Care introduced a temporary incentive for the employment of unemployed persons under the age of 30, which employers could apply until the end of 2015. Based on the said Act, an employer who, in the period from 1. 11. 2013 to 31. 12. 2015 employed an unemployed person under 30 for an indefinite period. For the first 24 months of such employment, he is entitled to exemption from the employer's social security contributions. More than 4,600 unemployed youths found employment.
The implementation plan for the ongoing YG (Jamstvo za mlade: Izvedbeni načrt 2016–2020) was adopted in April 2016 and the measure has been taking place since. More than 97,000 young people had been involved in the YG since the beginning of its implementation by the end of 2018, of which almost 30,000 were employed through subsidies. 256.2 million EUR was spent for the measure in that period.
In the programme ‘The First Challenge 2015’ (Prvi izziv 2015), Eastern Slovenian employers could receive a subsidy totalling 7,250 EUR for employing youths. Employment had to be maintained for at least 15 months, including a 3-month probation period. The programme subsidised 2,893 jobs for youths. Between 2016 and 2019, several other measures that subsidised employments had been taking place. Altogether there were 7,805 of youths (aged 29 years or under) included in subsidised employment measures, which is 34,8% of all persons included in them.
In July 2017 the MDDSZ announced a Public call for co-financing projects promoting entrepreneurship among youth between 2017–2019 (Javni razpis za sofinanciranje projektov spodbujanja podjetništva med mladimi 2017–2019) that provided 1 mio EUR for promoting and supporting entrepreneurial activities among unemployed youth (under 29 years of age).
In May 2018 the MDDSZ announced an Open call for co-financing innovative projects for youth employment for 2018 and 2019 (Javni razpis za sofinanciranje inovativnih projektov za zaposlovanje mladih za leti 2018 in 2019). The aim of the call was providing financial support for two innovative projects that would help youth unemployed with development of their competences and successful employment seeking.
Two projects were selected in a public tender. ZRSZ included 366 young unemployed persons in training. People participated in project activities for a total duration of 100 to 150 hours and a maximum of two months with the aim of later employment. In the end, the young people obtained a certificate of successful participation in project activities. Out of all participants in the training and those who completed it, 152 of them found employment with a subsidy under the "Let's hire young people" program, representing 41.5% of all those involved in the training.
Specific target groups:
Young people who are registered as unemployed at the ESS can be involved in various ALMP programs as a priority target group. The data from the MDDSZ suggest that youths are in fact large beneficiaries of ALMP measures in Slovenia. In 2019, 27,5% of all beneficiaries of ALMP measures were young people under the age of 29 and in 2018, this percentage was 31,1%.
National YG scheme:
In January 2014, the first Implementation Plan for the YG for 2014 and 2015 (Izvedbeni načrt Jamstva za mlade za leti 2014 in 2015) was adopted after the Government of the Republic of Slovenia consulted with key stakeholders. Since 2014, the Slovenian government has implemented many measures regarding the Slovene labour market and its economic situation, focusing on faster transition from the education system to the labour market as well as innovative incentives for employing youths. The YG target group in Slovenia is broad; since Slovenia is characterised by a large share of unemployed people aged 25–29 (as a result of high enrolment in tertiary education), already the first YG implementation plan included and/or took into account an expanded target group of young people aged up to 29 (not only up to 25, as it was in the EU until recently).
The Implementation Plan for YG 2016–2020 (Jamstvo za mlade: Izvedbeni načrt 2016–2020) was adopted in 2016. From 2016 onwards, special focus was placed on youths suffering from long-term unemployment. The Plan involves 15 measures and can be divided into two main areas: so-called precautionary measures, which are intended for youths who are not yet in the labour market, and second measures, which are intended for rapid activation of youth in the labour market. The measures comprising the YG can be divided into two parts:
Early action and activation
Three main systemic measures concern early intervention and activation before the entry of young people in the labour market and two measures target young people during their education. The target group of these measures are young individuals who are still in the education system or are transitioning from the education system to the labour market. These are:
- Lifelong guidance
- Systemic changes to traineeship
- Reform of the VET system
- Promotion of creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation
This measure involves a variety of activities targeting young people during their education to enhance their creative and entrepreneurial skills.
- Promotion of creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation among young people – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MGRT and SPIRIT Slovenia (Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalization, Foreign Investments and Technology). Public tender to elementary and secondary schools in June 2016.
- Improvement of entrepreneurial skills and promotion of flexible learning pathways between education and the environment in gymnasiums and elementary schools – The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the MIZŠ. Public tender in September 2016.
- YOUTH START – This is an international entrepreneurial project. The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the MIZŠ. It was implemented from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017 at gymnasiums and from 1 November 2015 to 31 August 2017 at schools.
Activation of young people in the labour market
Four systemic measures are being implemented for quick activation of young people in the labour market. Six measures target unemployed youths 29 years of age and under.
- Strengthening counselling work with youth at the ESS
The aim of this measure is to strengthen work with the unemployed youths. By increasing the number of consultants who will be specifically trained, the quality of counselling will be improved and young people will be empowered to efficiently manage their own careers.
- Counsellors for rapid activation of youths – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure is ongoing.
- Consultants for youths suffering from long-term unemployment – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure is ongoing.
- Prevention and detection of in the labour market
This measure aims to prevent precarious employment of young people by raising awareness about the problem among young people and employers and by strengthening inspection services.
- International mobility of young people
The measure aims to help young people who want to try their chance on the European labour market.
- Information and communication regarding the YG
- Training and education of unemployed youth
The aim of the measure is to increase the employability of young people with additional training or education and help unemployed youths discover more sustainable and better forms of employment. Education and training programs are provided for in-demand occupations and are designed to meet the actual needs of employers.
- Non-formal education and training for young people (Neformalno izobraževanje in usposabljanje za mlade) – This measure is targeted towards young people (up to 30 years old) exclusively with the aim to increase their employment opportunities. The program offers various trainings where participants gain skills and knowledge that are in demand in the labour market. It is based on non-formal learning and targets especially those who have work experience or a profession that is currently not in demand by employers.
- On-the-job training (Usposabljanje na delovnem mestu) – This measure is targeted towards young people who have been unemployed for at least three months. Training is offered by employer to provide unemployed youths work experience. About 60–70% of participating employers provide routes to employment within 12 months after concluding the training. The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure was first implemented in July 2016.
- PUM-on: Project Learning for Young Adults (PUM-o; Projektno učenje za mlajše odrasle) – This programme addresses the unemployment of vulnerable youths with few opportunities to enter the labour market or re-enter higher education. It takes a more in-depth approach to the social integration of youths with difficult family backgrounds. The programme primarily aims to improve their skills and enhance their employability through personal support and project-based learning in groups. Highly qualified professionals provide specialised assistance in the form of a mentorship. The programme is intended to include 500 young people per year and help them to enter employment or re-enter and finish higher education. The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure is ongoing.
- Support for new career prospects (Podpora novim kariernim perspektivam) – The objective of this measure is to enable the acquisition of competencies, references, knowledge and work experience in the field of culture. The measure is targeted towards unemployed young people (up to 29 years old) into the labor market. The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the MK. The measure is ongoing.
- ‘I Can, Because I know’ (Zmorem, ker znam) – Under this measure young people are offered on-the-job training and employers get reimbursement of eligible training costs. The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure is ongoing.
- Incentives for youth employment
The aim is to promote the employment, particularly permanent employment, of unemployed youths, particularly first-time job seekers and youths with no work experience. The measure will increase the number of employment opportunities for unemployed youths and provide compulsory traineeships.
- Youth Employment Initiative: The first challenge (Prvi izziv) – This measure was implemented in 2016. It offered a combination of on-the-job training and subventions for employers that hire unemployed youths 29 of age or under that reside in Eastern Slovenia. The programme subsidised 2,893 jobs for youths. The organisations responsible for implementing this measure were the MDDSZ and the ESS.
- Incentives for permanently employing youths (Spodbude za trajno zaposlovanje mladih) – The purpose of the program is to encourage employers to permanently employ persons under the age of 30 who are registered as unemployed. Selected employers obtain a subsidy of total amount EUR 5,000.00 for full-time and permanent employment in two equal parts (after employment of a person from the target group and after payment of their 24th monthly salary). The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure is ongoing.
- The first job in the field of education (Prva zaposlitev na področju vzgoje in izobraževanja) – The aim of this measure is to recruit 300 teachers aged 29 or under. The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the MIZŠ. The measure is ongoing. The first public call for educators was published on 26 November 2015 (implementation occurred from 1 February 2016 to 30 November 2016) and he latest public call was published on 12 June 2020 (the implementation is expected to occure between November 2020 and July 2021).
- Youth for youth (Mladi za mlade) – The purpose of the measure is employment of young (up to 29 years of age) sports graduates, which supports sustainable integration of young people into the labour market. The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the MIZŠ. The measure began in 2017 and is expected to end in 2021.
- Measures for vulnerable youth
The aims of this measure are to activate youths who have been registered as unemployed at the ESS for more than 12 months and to help young people with disabilities with transition to the labour market.
- Promotion of the employment of youths suffering from long-term unemployment – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The measure was launched in April 2017.
- The transition of young people with disabilities into the labour market – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. The Open call for co-financing projects “development and implementation of young people with disabilities into the labour market” (Javni razpis za sofinanciranje projektov “razvoj in izvajanje prehoda mladih s posebnimi potrebami na trg dela) was published on 1 September 2017. The implementation of the project is planned for the period between 2018 and 2022.
- Support to youth entrepreneurship (see Chapter 3.7)
- Young people in rural areas
This measure aims to help young people establish and develop agricultural careers and encourage the creation of new jobs.
- Payment scheme for young farmers (Shema plačilo za mlade kmete) – The beneficiaries of this measure are young farmers (aged between 18 and 40 years) who receive financial support for establishing agricultural activity. The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. The implementation of the measure began in 2014 and is still ongoing.
- Setting up support for young farmers – The organisation responsible for implementing this measure is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. The measure is ongoing.
- Projects for youth
The aim of this measure is to support projects that would provide faster and easier access to employment and/or create new jobs for unemployed youths.
- Promoting active citizenship among young people to increase employability - In 2016, the Office for Youth presented a first public tender, of which the aim was to encourage innovative ways of working with youths and new approaches to solving the problem of youth unemployment. From 2016 to 2018, 464 young people were employed: 195 in Eastern Slovenia and 269 in Western Slovenia. The second public tender was published in October 2019. The expected duration of the project is from February 2020 to September 2021. At least 217 young persons (aged 15 to 29) from Eastern Slovenia and 329 from Western Slovenia will be included in the project. The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MIZŠ and the Office for Youth.
- Innovative projects for youth employment – The organisations responsible for implementing this measure are the MDDSZ and the ESS. They were implemented in early 2017. In 2019 the ESS published a public invitation for employers that would receive a subsidy in amont of 5,000 EUR for employing unemployed youth that were trained within the innovative projects for youth employment. The expected number of youth included in this measure is 283. The measure is ongoing and is expected to end in 2021.
Other measures for youth employment
- In 2010 and 2011, the programme ‘Absolvent Activate and Employ Yourself’ (Absolvent aktiviraj in zaposli se) was implemented. The programme was proposed by the Slovenian Student Union (ŠOS) and was financed by the MDDSZ. It was intended to prevent young graduates from transitioning into unemployment and involved 321 young people.
- In September 2016, the Ypsilon Institute launched a project, 'Made with Y' (Narejeno z ipsilonom), that was intended to help young people achieve regular employment. The project aimed to solve the problem of youth unemployment by promoting innovative approaches to working with youth. The goal was to create young professionals that meet employers’ needs. The project co-funded by the EU and the MIZŠ.
- The project ‘Jobs for Youth’ (Delo za mlade), carried out by Youth Network MaMa in cooperation with youth centres throughout Slovenia, was a national networking project involving youth organisations, institutions engaged in work with youths and other players in local communities that aimed to improve the employment prospects of young people. The project focused on the topic of work and the employability of youths and intended to find ways to protect youths from unemployment. The project lasted 9 months (2010–2011).
- From 2015–2016, the Institute Bob (Zavod Bob), in cooperation with other authorities within the youth sector, carried out the programme ‘Display’ (Prikaz). It focused on informal learning and was targeted towards youths between 18 and 29. The specific target groups were vulnerable youth, such as those that did not complete their education or only have a low level of education, first-time job seekers, youth suffering from long-term unemployment and social science students. The main objective of Display was to develop a concrete idea for a project in which participants solve their life situations in a long-term way. The project involved four modules and lasted for a total of 320 hours.
- From 2016–2018, the Institute Bob, carried out a project ‘Marš na(d) trg dela’. The project offered young people (aged between 15 and 29 years) trainings through which they got support in creating, planning and realizing their own career paths.
Regulations intended to foster youth employment are also enacted at the local level. In 2016, the Municipality of Ljubljana proposed a project, ‘Cool Job!’ (Kul služba!), that was designed to help people that are considered harder to employ. The project is one of the key objectives of the MOL Strategy for Youth 2016–2025 (Strategija Mestne občine Ljubljana za mlade 2016-2025), a strategy aimed at increasing youth employment. Cool Job! offers opportunities for employment in occupations with a surplus of available jobs (e.g. printer, electrician, librarian).
The new labour legislation enacted in 2013 introduced the concept of flexicurity. Its main aims were to increase flexibility (mainly by simplifying the procedures for concluding employment relationships), to encourage reduced segmentation in the labour market and to increase the effectiveness of workers’ legal protections. According to the MDDSZ (2016), the proportion of newly signed contracts permanent contracts among youth has increased considerably in the first few years after the reform.
Flexibility is becoming more common in the Slovenian labour market; fixed-term jobs (with contracts that typically last three months to one year) are increasing in popularity. In 2016, 52.8% of employees aged 15–29 had fixed-term contracts. In addition, approximately 32,000 people worked through student services, which also offers to be one of the most popular flexible job alternatives for young people in the Slovenian labour market. In 2018, 37% of employed youth aged 15–29 were employed temporarily and additional 7% had occasional jobs. According to the programming document ‘Youth Employment’ (Zaposlovanje mladih), which was produced by the National Youth Council of Slovenia in 2013, the term ‘flexicurity’ is widely used in Slovenia and abroad. As written in the document, the purpose of flexicurity is to harmonise the needs of employers and employees. Furthermore, this document shows that, in some areas, the Slovenian labour market is too flexible and not secure enough. In Slovenia, more than 75% of offers in the labour market involve fixed-term employment, which does not provide youths with social and financial security. The National Youth Council of Slovenia and other organisations are fighting against this professional instability. They believe that the debate in Slovenia is not about flexicurity, but about how to reduce professional instability among young people and provide them with stable employment.
To avoid deepening this problem, one of the regulations in the Action Plan 2016/2017 of the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 (Izvedbeni načrt 2016/2017 Nacionalnega programa za mladino 2013–2022), the Action Plan 2018/2019 (Izvedbeni načrt 2018/2019 Nacionalnega programa za mladino 2013–2022) and the Action Plan 2020/2021 (Izvedbeni načrt 2020/2021 Nacionalnega programa za mladino 2013–2022) is to provide stimulus for permanent youth employment (Spodbude za trajno zaposlovanje mladih). Under this regulation, employers who employ youths will receive subsidies, thus encouraging stable employment and social security among youths. In line with these calls, MDDSZ published ‘For a Decent Work’ (Za dostojno delo) in 2016; i.e. a document stressing the constant pressure, tight deadlines and unpredictable conditions young people face.
Since July 2013, employers in Slovenia are entitled to partial reimbursement for their contributions to pension and disability insurance for two years if they employ a person younger than 26 years of age with a permanent contract for at least two years. The aim of this measure is to stimulate employment with permanent contracts.
Young people in Slovenia often find it difficult to reconcile work and family life, partially because employers perceive parenthood as disruptive to the work process rather than valuable. One of the main objectives of the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 ( Resolucija o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013–2022) is to make it easier for youths to coordinate work and family life. To realise this aim, one subfield was prioritised: reinforcement of activities to eliminate discrimination of parents and enable individuals to coordinate their private and family lives easier. The supervisors of this measure are the MDDSZ, the MIZŠ, the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia and other social partners.
One certificate award project, which was co-funded by the European Social Fund, is an example of good practice recognising parenthood as a value. This project, ‘Family-Friendly Enterprise Certificate’ (Certifikat družini prijazno podjetje) is organised by the Ekvilib Institute in cooperation with the MDDSZ and the Trade Union Mladi Plus.
The Employment Relationship Act (Zakon o delovnih razmerjih) includes some provisions regarding mothers and their rights (night work, etc.), but in practice still falls short of allowing young parents to more successfully reconcile work and family life. Some other measures have also been adopted, such as subventions for housing for young families and benefits for student parents/families.
Youth 2010, the last in-depth survey of young people between 25 and 30 years of age, confirms that women are especially affected by the youth unemployment situation. The unemployment rate of female graduates increased over the last decade from 4.3% to 17.8% (for male graduates, the rate increased from 2.8% to 7.5%). In 2010, the general unemployment rate among young women was 12% higher than among men. According to the study Slovenian Youth 2013, this percentage remained approximately the same in 2013.
To fight against youth unemployment, the Slovenian government developed an active employment policy. Youths under 30 years of age who were insured for six months in the two years prior to their unemployment can receive unemployment benefits. According to the Youth Index 2016 (Indeks mladih 2016), 3,102 young people received compensation for unemployment.
Table 1: The Implementation Plan of YG 2016–2020: total funds equal 300 million EUR
Estimated funds for the Implementation Plan of YG 2016–2020:
70.1 million EUR
62.7 million EUR
58.0 million EUR
54.6 million EUR
53.9 million EUR
Since the start of the YG in 2014, 97,000 young people had been involved in the measures by the end of 2018. In the same period, 256,2 million EUR was spent for YG measures.
For the period from 2016–2018, Slovenia received 5 million EUR from the European Social Fund to support innovative ways of working with youths and increasing the employability of young people.
The 2015 Annual Report on the implementation of state actions regarding the labour market shows that, in terms of the transition to employment, one of the most successful training programs was ‘On-the-Job Training’ (Usposabljanje na delovnem mestu). On the other hand, there were delays in the implementation of the programmes ‘The First Challenge 2015’ (Prvi izziv 2015) and ‘Promoting Apprenticeships’ (Spodbujanje pripravništev). There were altogether 2,951 young people involved in the programme 'The First Challenge 2015', which was implemented in the years 2016 and 2017. At the end of 2015, the National Youth Council of Slovenia and the ESS presented the results of an analysis of the survey ‘Satisfaction of Youth with the Programme YG’ (Zadovoljstvo mladih s programom Jamstvo za mlade). The analysis aimed to identify the satisfaction of youths who were involved in YG measures. In total, 5,823 youths participated in the YG until September 2015. Youths’ satisfaction with YG measures was taken into account when designing further actions. The abovementioned results of the survey on youths’ satisfaction with the implementation of the YG showed the necessity of increasing promotion of the measures, improving control over employers and developing more measures that produce jobs.
The MDDSZ prepared a report on the implementation of the YG 2014–2015 (Poročilo o izvajanju jamstva za mlade 2014-15). In 2014 and 2015, 49,181 young job seekers found employment. In 2015, 41.5 % of all ALMP participants were younger than 29. In total, 29.3 million EUR was spent on ALMP measures for youths in 2014, and 20.7 million EUR was spent in 2015. According to the ESS, there was a 40% increase in the number of unemployed persons who found jobs within four months of registering as unemployed in 2014 and 2015. However, in the same governmental document, youth organisations that are actively involved in monitoring the implementation of the YG stated that there is still room for improvement in the measures and implementation of the YG.
Under special intervention measure in the Field of the Labor Market and Parental Care introduced a temporary incentive for the employment of the unemployed under the age of 30. Employers could apply until the end of 2015. Based on the said Act, an employer who, in the period from 1.11. 013 until 31.12.2015 employs an unemployed person under the age of 30 for an indefinite period. For the first 24 months of such employment, he is entitled to exemption from the employer's social security contributions. This measure was implemented from 1 November 2013 to 31 December 2015.
The data in the The Annual Report on the implementation of state actions regarding the labour market in 2016 shows that the YG plan was unpgraded (in comparison to the previous year), especially in terms of councelling processes and work approaches (especially) regarding the long-term unemployed youth. More than 15,000 young persons were included in the measures, 9,523 out of them were employed. In the report from 2017, it is written that altogether 22,270 young persons were involved in the YG measures, among which 7,810 were employed through subsidized employment. The report from the year 2018 shows that there was 18,786 young persons involved in the YG measures that year, among which 3,900 were employed.