2008 National Action Plan: Employment Up to 62%, Unemployment Down to 7%

2008 National Action Plan: Employment Up to 62%, Unemployment Down to 7%

The employment rate is to reach an average annual 62 per cent (43 per cent for the 55-64 age
bracket and 58 per cent for women) and the unemployment rate will drop to under 7 per cent as a result of implementation of the 2008 National Action Plan for Employment that the Cabinet approved on Thursday, BTA reports, citing the Government Information Service.

In 2008, active labor market policies will target mainly unemployed persons aged under 29 and over 50, uneducated and unskilled unemployed, and persons who do not actively seek employment. Training and employment will be provided for at least 35,000 people aged under 29. A new start within six months will be ensured for 30 per cent of the registered unemployed aged under 29, and a new start within twelve months for over 30 per cent of the registered long-term unemployed.

The subsidized monthly labor remuneration for unemployed persons under the Employment Promotion Act programs and measures will be increased from 180 to 220 leva for full-time work. The subsidized monthly remuneration for unemployed newly included in the Career Start Program will rise from 280 to 330 leva. Baby-sitters under the Maternity Support Program will be paid 300 leva per month when they take care of twins and 220 leva in the rest of the cases. The grant for unemployed starting a micro-enterprise or a farm will be increased from 2,000 to 2,500 leva. The extra funding for hiring another unemployed family member not entitled to cash benefit will be increased from 720 to 880 leva.

After the entry into force of the revisions of the Employment Promotion Act, trainers will be paid an extra labor remuneration of 120 leva, training unemployed in key competences will be remunerated by up to 500 leva and such training of employed by up to 250 leva, training of trainees up to 500 leva, and occupational guidance per unemployed person up to 30 leva.

New program and projects will start in 2008: National Activation Program (for identification and individual work with non-active job seekers and discouraged workers), appointing 45 Roma mediators to help employment office workers in handling Roma unemployed, social partners' projects for training of animators and stock-breeders, motivation training and counseling of unemployed young people, and new 19 regional programm and actions in the public interest, providing over 300 jobs and training for 100-plus unemployed. Implementation of the 2008 Action Plan will provide employment to 76,203 persons (including 74,703 through active policies by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) and training to 73,961 persons (including 32,063 through active policies by the Ministry).

Deputy Labor and Social Policy Minister Dimitar Dimitrov said at a press conference on Thursday that 190 million leva have been set aside for active labor market policies in this year's budget - the same amount as in 2007 but with an altered structure. Program aiding the retired and teachers will continue, with average wages of 220 leva per month, while the minimum wage for all qualified teachers taking part will be 350 leva. Seventy-one million leva have been set aside for getting the unemployed back to work. Twenty labor exchanges will be set up, eight of which will target the Roma community.

Thirty-nine million leva will be set aside for eleven thousand support workers for people with special needs.

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