[TV N1] Following Serbia, North Macedonia starts the reform of seasonal workers

After three years of the launch from the portal and application for registering seasonal workers, during which more than 60,000 seasonal workers in agriculture were registered, the Government of North Macedonia decided to adopt the Serbian model and implement the same reform in its country. Our neighbors, however, will go a step further and from the very beginning will make simplified electronic registration possible in other industries as well, such as tourism, catering and cleaning jobs, as well as childcare.

Isidora Šmigić, a specialist in regulatory reform at NALED, explained to a guest on Novi Dan on TV N1 that NALED started implementing this reform in 2017 with the support of the Government and relevant ministries, as well as German development cooperation implemented by GIZ, so that this the portal started functioning in January 2019.

- What we see as the main difference is that in 2018, over 90% of workers in seasonal jobs in agriculture worked illegally. Today, a significantly better trend is noticeable - over 60,000 seasonal workers have already been registered through this portal and they are receiving the benefits defined by this Law, such as the right to pension seniority for all the days they worked, the right to health insurance in the event of an injury at work, as well as the right to social benefits and financial aid in case they receive it, which was often the reason why they did not want to be registered, Šmigić pointed out.

According to her, employers have received an efficient procedure, which is facilitated because there is no bureaucracy in terms of paperwork, but everything takes place through the sezonskiradnici.gov.rs portal, which is managed by the Tax Administration.

As she further explained, employers can be both legal and natural persons, which enables agricultural holdings that are not registered as legal persons to use this system.

- You need to register for the first time, using a qualified electronic signature, or if you don't have one, someone can do it for you or you can go to the local government where there are service centers where it is possible to open an account. Each subsequent time when workers register, the procedure is very simple - a unique citizen's registration number is required, then the date when the worker will work and the type of work are selected, and registration is done on a daily basis, Šmigić explained.

She also pointed out the example of North Macedonia as the country most interested in applying this model, not only in agriculture, but also in the tourism, catering, domestic and auxiliary sectors, and that it is expected that by the end of the year a law would be drawn up that would include all these areas. When it comes to Serbia, a law has already been prepared which, in addition to the above-mentioned areas, would include construction, where there is also a large number of workers who work in the gray zone.

- The law has passed public discussion, it is ready, it should therefore include both jobs in agriculture and new areas, with the fact that it will also introduce some additional control mechanisms, in terms of how much the employer can use this system on a monthly basis for one workers, so that abuses do not occur, as much as they can use on an annual basis. So we hope that when the new government is formed, that this law will continue the further procedure and that perhaps by the end of the year we will have this kind of simplified system in other areas as well, Šmigić said.

Watch the entire interview below

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