Legal Update: Law no. 15/2019 “On Employment Promotion” to establish employment quotas for persons with disabilities. Implementation of the law.
Since 18th April 2019, the Albanian Parliament has adopted Law no 15/2019 “On Employment Promotion”, aiming to serve as an incentive in increasing the employment of the workforce through the provision of public services and programs on employment and self-employment, as well as vocational trainings. However, the adoption of by-laws in application of the new law is still pending, impeding its effective enforcement even six months after its entry in force.
Law no. 15/2019 repealed the previous Law no. 7995/1995 “On Employment Promotion”, which did not meet the actual needs for employment public policies and was never implemented in practice.
What is new?
The new law on employment promotion has extended the category of special groups, which to date have faced more obstacles in integrating into the labor market. These groups will have the advantage of being hired under the new employment policies provided by Law no. 15/2019.
National Employment Service will be substituted by a State Agency, which will be in charge of employment and will govern the implementation of employment programs established by the new law. Up to date, a by-law regarding the organization and functioning of this Agency is lacking.
Under the Law no. 15/2019, the Social Fund of Employment will be established, whose regulation and functioning are expected to be detailed by a decision of Council of Ministers. A special attention is also paid to persons with disabilities, setting minimum quota for their employment in public and private sectors.
New Labor Authority
Law no. 15/2019 provides for the establishment of an Agency responsible for employment and skills, which will have the legal status of the actual National Employment Service. This Agency will conduct periodic surveys at enterprises to collect data on the number of employees, work conditions, recruitment process, lack of skills or training needs according to national/ international methodologies tested and/or adopted. Implementation of employment public policies set out under the new law will be a prerogative of the Agency responsible for employment. This institution is expected to be established by a special decision of the Council of Ministers, by the end of 2019.
Social Fund of Employment
Article 22 of Law no.15/2019 provides for the creation of a Social Fund of Employment in the form of a public financial fund. The fund will foster employment promotion, integration and social inclusion of people with disabilities. The fund is created from the state budget, other revenues generated from other legal sources, including financing and grants, funds obtained from agreements between the Republic of Albania, the Council of Ministers and various donors as well as from contributions of employers who fail to hire a person with disabilities.
Obligations of Employers and Employment Quotas for Persons with Disabilities
Under the new law, employers are obliged to notify the Agency responsible for employment for initiation of bankruptcy proceedings at their request, no later than 20 calendar days after the court decision to commence bankruptcy proceedings is taken.
Every employer, beneficiary of public funds, is obliged to employ a number of assigned unemployed jobseekers, registered in regional agency responsible for employment, giving priority to employment of long-term unemployed jobseekers. A decision of Council of Ministers will provide further details with regards to this requirement.
Employers must hire a person with disabilities, for the first 25 employees of the enterprise and an additional person with disabilities, for every other 50 other employees. This obligation is considered to be met if the employer alternatively makes a contribution on the Social Fund of Employment, at the rate of 100 percent of the national minimum wage, on a monthly basis, for each employment quota for persons of disabilities not granted.
Employers have the right to apply for subsidies from the agency responsible for employment for reconstruction and adaptation of workplaces for any disabled person employed by them.
Implementation of Law no. 15/2019 “On Employment Promotion”
While the establishment of the new Agency in charge of employment is still on hold, non-official communications by Ministry of Finance and Economy have implied that provisions set out by Law no. 15/2019 “On Employment Promotion” are expected to be effectively enforced by state authorities starting from January 2020, upon the creation of the new employment authority. In this line, employers are encouraged to instantly take the necessary actions for meeting the obligations imposed on them by the new law.
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