EMPLOYMENT THROUGH NEW MECHANISMS
Labor relations have been undergoing large-scale reforms. Their course was set by the Actions Strategy along Five Priority Areas for the Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021.
Targeted measures on reformation and diversification of the country's economy, modernization and technological extension of the leading industries, stimulation of accelerated development of small businesses and private enterprises result in thousands of new jobs created every year across the country. Experts see that as an important condition for addressing the relevant problem of employing the able-bodied population, especially young people.
At the same time, experts point out to outdated and inefficient forms and methods of addressing these problems. There are many critical remarks on the enduring practice of distortion of the real situation in the labor market, superficial approaches to such an important social issue as employment of graduates of higher and secondary special vocational education institutions.
Experts actively spoke about that within the framework of development of the Development Strategy for 2017-2021, which has become the starting point for the radical modernization of the sector. As a result, in April, the Ministry of Labor was reorganized into the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan, thereby triggering fundamental reforms.
The speech of the International Labor Organization Director General Guy Ryder at the meeting with the delegation of Uzbekistan within the framework of the ILO 106th session is still fresh in the memory. The expert highly commended the implementation of the ILO country program on decent work in Uzbekistan, the implementation of labor standards in national legislation in accordance with international standards. The head of the International Labor Organization stressed the need to expand bilateral cooperation, including the issues of further improvement of the legal framework, employment, also with regard to women, as well as protection of labor industry and social protection of the population in the agenda. "We must not stop at what has been achieved, we should go forward and develop partnership," he said.
The four-year program of comprehensive measures on further improvement of the activities of labor and employment agencies, which was approved a few days before the ILO session, shows that this work will continue.
The document envisages the cooperation with the International Labor Organization with subsequent approval of 11 ILO Conventions, including compensation for accidents at work, paid vacation (revised in 1970), equal treatment and equal opportunities for working men and women, on home-based work, on the fundamentals that promote safety and hygiene at work, and others.
It is planned to introduce amendments and additions to the Labor Code. They will concern the streamlined management of employee's work record book due to the transition to the electronic work record, extension of the rights of employers and employees to fixed-term employment contracting, establishment of the legal status of self-employment and home-based work. The amendments will reflect the peculiarities of labor regulation for certain categories of workers, including those employed by individual entrepreneurs, athletes, coaches, and tutors.
It is also planned to draft a law on non-governmental organizations to promote employment of population (recruiting agencies), and a bylaw that would stipulate the licensing procedure for nongovernmental organizations that provide services on citizen employment abroad. The measures will allow not just ensuring the compliance of standards with the requirements of the time, but also introducing modern advanced technologies for building labor relations.
Forsaking old approaches
The new ministry is entrusted with the development of a state order for job creation and coordination of territorial and sector employment programs, measures to ensure employment of graduates of higher and secondary special and vocational educational institutions. Its functions also include monitoring the timely payment of allowances and financial assistance to low-income families.
The Ministry is assigned as the major executive of the program of integrated measures on further improvement of performance of labor authorities and ensuring employment of the population. The document stipulates the measures to streamline the regulatory and legal framework in this area, introduce modern approaches to the development of employment programs, mechanisms to ensure the employment of graduates of vocational colleges, academic lyceums and universities. It is also planned to study new interactive services.
Labor bodies propose adopting a fundamentally new scheme for the provision of ‘single window’ services. Moreover, they propose its introduction in any access point, including citizens’ self-government bodies, with the active introduction of Internet services in the employment and employment promotion sector.
This sector is shifting to active use of modern technologies. The system of ‘electronic work record book’ will be introduced since 2019. It will contain reliable data about the terms of the employee's labor activity, service record and the amount of contributions he or she paid for state social insurance, as well as information on the professional career.
The establishment of the Public Works Fund under the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations is an important innovation. Along with the State Employment Fund, it is entrusted with ensuring the implementation of integrated measures on sustainable and balanced development of the labor market, raising the level of employment and rational use of labor resources.
The sources of formation and major areas of the use of the State Employment Promotion Fund resources have been determined. It will be engaged in ensuring the provision of lawful employment and financial support guarantees for the unemployed, graduates of higher and secondary special and vocational educational institutions, as well as in financing the initiatives on provision of quality services of vocational training, retraining and social protection to the unoccupied population, and strengthening of the logistical capacity of labor agencies.
At a new stage of development, the Ministry will abandon the cookbook approaches to addressing employment problems; its activities will become more targeted. In particular, the work on raising families from poverty will be brought to the new level. Employment promotion centers will develop an individual program for each such family. Involvement of families in individual and family business, development of personal subsidiary economies, assistance in obtaining microcredit and education are seen as the main tools to pull families out of the difficult economic situation.
Mission Number One
Employment of graduates of vocational colleges, academic lyceums and universities remains one of the most ambitious objectives in employment sector. There is a need to employ more than half a million beginning specialists annually. Much has been done in this direction. However, the execution of government orders on the ground caused complaints from the public, who stated that much has been done just to tick the box. The current unprecedented measures are being taken to restore the order.
First of all, the measures would increase the employers' interest in employing graduates of higher and secondary special educational institutions. Some of the funds released from the use of benefits will be channeled to financing their professional development. To do this, privileges for a single social payment will come into effect as of January 1, 2018.
The end has come for the useless employment certificates of graduates. To ensure continuous and objective monitoring of their employment, it is envisaged that all students of vocational colleges and academic lyceums must get a personal taxpayer number. Monitoring social security contributions will help to promptly identify unemployed men and women and provide them with effective and timely assistance in employment.
Involvement of graduates in business remains an effective way of their employment. The program of measures on expansion of access points, range and volume of microfinance services for start-up entrepreneurs for 2017-2020 is currently in the process of development and approval. It is going to be a complex of measures that would radically strengthen the role of the country’s banking system in employment issues.
In particular, it is expected that the capitalization of Micro Credit Bank would expand the microcredit opportunities for the population. At the same time, it is stipulated that the Minister of Employment and Labor Relations will chair the supervisory board of this bank, thereby promoting the implementation of employment programs.
In the Spotlight
In the process of development of the state order for job creation, the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations will compile a list of the most manpower excessive cities and regions of the republic. In turn, when drawing and approving targeted lists of investment projects, the Ministry of Economy, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, municipalities of the regions and the city of Tashkent should give priority to the creation of new production capacities in abovementioned regions.
A list of supporting vocational colleges was approved to recovery the situation in settlements with excessive manpower. The gaps in the curricular will be filled with vocational training, retraining and advanced training of marketable specialties and vocations for the unemployed population.
Private Sector to Support the Government
At the new stage of reformation of the employment system, much attention has been paid to the expansion of employment services to the population. The Ministry and its territorial branches will benefit from private organizations in addressing these tasks.
As of January 1, 2018, nongovernmental organizations will be entitled to render employment services on a paid basis. A work permit abroad will require a license.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations is currently working on a project on the development of a network of private educational institutions, which will provide a fee-based training on marketable vocations and specialties. At the same time, there are plans afoot to involve those centers in the work with the unemployed (through benefits)
All the abovementioned measures are expected to drastically improve the quality of public services in employment sector by conducting a full-scale analysis, introduction of progressive approaches to the organization of activities of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, including the application of incentive wage methods.
(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for Support of NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions)
Technologies Make it Easy
Director of Information and Computer Center, Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations:
Our Ministry has been actively introducing cutting edge automated information and communication technologies. The launch of the Electronic Legal Inspector is one of our latest innovations. This service of the MELR official website enables bоth the employer and the employee to check whether the employment procedure complies with the employment law, track changes in the employment contract, dismissal, salary terms and many other aspects of activity of an organization or company.
The virtual inspector also offers recommendations to correct the violations identified. It allows to find out whether the rights of the employee are violated, and in case of revealed violations, it will help to apply to the employer with an act of verification so that to settle the issue without the intervention of the labor inspector. Naturally, in case if the employer does not eliminate violations of the employee's rights, they will be restored in accordance with the established procedure by the State Labor Inspectorate of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations on the basis of the request received from the employee, and a copy of the ‘Electronic Inspector’ Act.
To Be Trained and Employed
Director of Vocational Training Center, Tashkent:
When our center opened five years ago, we had doubts if there was a need in that. Today, everyone here is absolutely sure that such a model of educational institutions has fully justified itself. Our graduates, who could not find a job before coming to us due to lack of professional skills, now work at such prestigious industrial enterprises as Tashkent Pipe Plant, Tashkent Foundry and Mechanical Plant, GM Powertrain Uzbekistan, and many others. Last year, a similar center was opened in Samarkand, and it was decided to establish similar centers in 11 regions of the republic.
Start-up will Help to Achieve the Result
graduate of the 1st Republican Medical College:
I've heard about the programs, under which commercial banks help colleges graduates to start a business. I wanted to take part in them. This year, it all has been organized on a big scale - a week of start-ups. Everything is available and convenient for graduates. I took part with the project on organizing a shop for sewing soft tools for medical institutions, and entered the ranks of winners. The competition was quite tough: 34 graduates participated from Almazar district of the capital, and each project is worthy of support. I would certainly like to pass to the national stage, but the result is still good. The municipality workers promised to help me with the registration of the shop, and a commercial bank will provide a concessional loan. I hope I will succeed.
My Son Will Become a Businessman
father of a graduate of Tashkent College of Radio Engineering and Automation:
I always dreamed that my son Fazlitdin got such a profession that would help him to live decently and keep his family sufficient. In the days of start-up among college graduates, I was twice as happy for my son. I noticed a commercial sense in him long ago, and pondered over much on how to help him to become successful. However, he was supported by our state. He took second place in the Chilanzar district stage, and is currently planning to open a modern household appliances repair workshop. It is very important that Fazlitdin obtained a loan for the purchase of start-up equipment.
Supported and Employed
resident of Taylak district of Samarkand region:
I was a housewife for a long time. I got some free time as the children grew up. I have decided to find a job. The job fair, organized by the district Employment Center, helped me a great deal. Today, I work in a confectionery shop. The college diploma I received fifteen years ago is now handy. Recently, I have won a regional contest for the title ‘The Best Confectioner’.