ATHENS -- The labor ministry has always stood -and still stands- at the forefront of the government's plan to protect incomes and employment from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after his visit to the ministry on Friday.
Speaking with the newly appointed Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis (formerly the Energy Minister), reiterated both his own and Hatzidakis' commitment to see through the issue of retroactive pension payouts; to this effect, they both underlined and effectively announced the creation of a task force headed by a project manager who will ensure that overdue pension compensations will be given to retirees as soon as possible, by way of fast-tracking the issue.
The work of the labor ministry is key to the government's so-called National Recovery Plan, which aims to alleviate workers and businesses from the current crisis induced by the pandemic, stressed Mitsotakis, and as such contributes to maintaining social cohesion.
The labor ministry has so far pursued and completed a number of key reforms: the doubling of the minimum guaranteed income in December, the extension of unemployment benefits beyond year's end, and the financial strengthening of the Manpower Employment Organization’s (OAED) adult learning programs, among other feats.
New plans for the creation of thousands of jobs for the long-term jobless are also underway, stressed Mitsotakis, as 2020 ended with some 93,000 hirings more than lay-offs.
Looking ahead, Mitsotakis underlined a few issues at the top of the ministerial agenda: the effort to battle undeclared, non-taxed work, which is a long-standing issue in Greece, the bridging of market demands and employee skills with more detailed, specific laws, and finally, emphasizing the role of demographic policy in labor rights and legislation; the latter includes rewards for companies who promote gender equality, and the incorporation into labor policy of requirements relating to special needs and disabilities.