According to the latest data from the State Statistics Service, at the end of 2020, there were 459 000 unemployed in our country, and according to unofficial data, there are at least 3.4 million.
Recently, officials realized that the Social Insurance Fund, from which unemployment assistance is paid, as well as maternity and sick leave, is not full, and the unemployed have nothing to be paid with. Earlier unemployment benefits were increased, sick leave costs increased, while tax revenues decreased. Quarantine, meanwhile, has no end yet.
It became obvious that people can still receive their payments for a long time, because there are simply no jobs that the state could offer them. Last year, only one fifth of the officially unemployed were retrained and employed.
The creation of new jobs due to internal economic clusters, the reorientation of domestic consumption to their own domestic product is too difficult for politicians. So, you need to be careful about saving.
Zelensky has already tried to shift the need to pay the "quarantine" help to entrepreneurs on the local authorities under the pretext of increasing it, but this quickly provoked a scandal. For unemployment payments, authorities came up with a whole performance for three acts, in which it will be possible to save money on citizens affected by the quarantine.
Act 1. Deprivation of help from those who already have it
For a month now, the toughened checks of the unemployed under the new rules have been going on. The unemployed are checked by 6 different authorities, including the tax authorities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Pension Fund. Part of the funds from the tranche of $ 14 million from the United States is spent on such checks and electronic document flow in the Employment Center.
Act 2. Reduction of payments
The Ministry of Economy is introducing an interesting bill "... On reforming the employment service, social insurance in case of unemployment, promoting productive employment of the population", which at first glance does not seem scandalous. And even more, it increases the amount of unemployment benefits for those who have more than 25 years of experience.
But if you take a closer look, it turns out that it carries disadvantages for the majority of Ukrainians who are registered with the Employment Center. Already tiny payments are decreasing, some of which are even less than the official subsistence minimum, which is not quite comparable with the realities of life in Ukraine. If you have officially worked for 5-15 years, then you will receive 60% of the average earnings, and not 70%, as before.
In addition, indirect savings are spelled out. Now, from the 90th to the 180th day of payment, the amount of the benefit is cut to 80%, then to 70%. Officials are going to cut it immediately to 50% after the first half of the term, which will also reduce the total amount of payments throughout the term.
These norms are terribly similar to the recently introduced initiative of the Ministry of Social Policy to reduce sick leave payments by increasing the required number of years of service. This, in fact, only proves the coordination of actions of the ministries in their attempts to cope with the deficit of the Social Insurance Fund in an antisocial way. But back to the unemployed.
Authorities want to give money only to those for whom the employer has paid taxes for at least a year and a half. Previously, it was enough to work officially half the time.
The indulgences that were adopted for the unemployed during the quarantine period (for example, the ability to receive payments upon dismissal of their own free will), authorities want to limit to 2021. That's right - do not pay the "extra" until 2025, when, as experts predict, we must defeat the covid.
Act 3. Making the guise of aid
For the poor and the unemployed, it was recently proposed to issue an interest-free refundable benefit for business. This should allow a person not only to find a job himself, but also to give work to others. True, the officials for some reason forgot that before opening a business through the Employment Center it was possible to get funds also. It was just that during the quarantine, this item of expenditure was cut, and all the money was sent to unemployment payments.
There is one simple fact: not every Ukrainian has an entrepreneurial ability. The officials have not learned since the time of the idea of issuing such loans for migrant workers. It is not known how much money is pledged for loans for the poor, but payments for migrant workers should have been enough for about a thousand people.
By the way, it is not clear what will happen if the business goes out of business, because this assistance is not irrevocable, as in Poland.
It is not worth explaining the economy on citizens by the pandemic. The deficiency of the Social Insurance Fund, in connection with which the authorities are taking anti-social actions, was also noticed in April 2019. Then the experts called the reason for the artificial reduction of the expenditure part of the fund by the executive directorate.
The same is happening now. We predicted the risks for the unemployed a year ago. It was obvious that the fund's receipts would decrease in proportion to tax receipts due to quarantine restrictions. The problem is the total lack of competence of the authorities to resolve the issue of unemployment.
Of course, the government's plan outlined above has nothing to do with solving the problem in the labor market and is aimed solely at reducing social assistance. The strategy of saving on citizens is not capable of accelerating the Ukrainian economy, and, consequently, making our citizens more prosperous. Moreover, against the background of all these actions, the authorities have been delaying the tax stranglehold for many years.
The problem of unemployment will again be solved not by the authorities, but by migration - Plan B for our country. The seasonal outflow of labor temporarily reduces the number of hungry mouths in the country. However, in the fall, Ukrainians will have no choice but to look for work "in the shadows."