Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will work together to promote job-rich inclusive growth, sustainable enterprises, more effective social dialogue and formalization of the informal economy under a new cooperation agreement signed on 26 March 2015 in Skopje.

Press release | 02 April 2015
BUDAPEST (ILO news) - The four year programme of cooperation between the ILO and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was signed by Minister of Labour and Social Policy Dime Spasov, ILO Director for Central and Eastern Europe Antonio Graziosi and presidents of employers and workers organizations.
The programme, developed through a participatory process involving the Government, and nationally representative workers’ and employers’ organizations, centers on three key priorities.

The first promotes more and better jobs for inclusive growth, improved youth employment prospects and sustainable enterprises. The ILO will assist its national partners in the development of a comprehensive National Employment Strategy for the period 2016-2020 and in the development of a new Youth Employment Action Plan – to be implemented up to 2020. Labour market institutions will receive training and assistance to pilot-test, monitor and evaluate new targeted youth employment services and programmes, including job-search training, for young men and women, particularly from most disadvantaged groups and areas. A strategy will be developed through tripartite consultations and ILO tools will be adapted and applied in order to increase the productivity and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. Furthermore, the ILO will provide support to identify gaps and improve labour statistics and to implement a school-to-work transition survey. This will increase the knowledge base on the situation of young people in the labour market, but especially on the demand of young workers and the expectations of prospective employers. Finally, the ILO will support better integration of women in the labour market from three angles: promotion of the principles of equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value; introduction of working time arrangements improving work and life balance; and adoption of maternity protection measures which could foster women’s return to work and more family-friendly policies for working parents.

The second priority will focus on effective social dialogue. The ILO will offer support to enhance the capacity of social partners, to strengthen collective bargaining and amicable labour dispute settlement. In particular, employers’ and workers’ organizations will receive assistance to deliver targeted, timely and useful services to their members and thus become more relevant and representative. The effectiveness and impact of Economic and Social Councils will be improved at both national and local level through increasing technical capacity of their members to provide high-quality recommendations to national and local governments. Six new local Economic and Social Councils are expected to be established by the end of 2016. The ILO will aim at enhancing the capacity of policy makers, law enforcement bodies and the social partners to devise jointly coordinated machinery for effective collective bargaining and enforcement of its outcomes. To support this process, a database will be created on employers’ and trade unions organizations’ membership and on collective agreements by September 2016. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will receive assistance to take necessary legal and institutional measures to establish a cost-effective and functioning mechanism of amicable settlement of labour disputes; to create a specialized team of conciliators and arbitrators of labour disputes; and to develop a dispute management information system.

The third priority is the formalization of the informal economy. Capacity of labour inspectors will be enhanced in order to address the informal economy. Following the training, they will be able to correctly advise employers and workers on how to comply with the law and to plan and undertake the investigation of cases of non-compliance. A national diagnosis will be carried out and validated on a tripartite basis through the Economic and Social Council by 2016. A gender-responsive national strategy for the formalization of the informal economy will be adopted on a tripartite basis by 2017. The government and social partners will also undertake an information and awareness raising campaign to promote the benefits of formalization.

The new Decent Work Country Programme 2015-2018 is based on the previous successful cooperation between the ILO and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and is aligned to the goals and targets set out by national development strategies. The programme will be regularly monitored and evaluated throughout its implementation.

Key labour market indicators

The data of the Labour Force Survey show that in 2013 the unemployment rate for the working age population (15-64) stood at 29.1 per cent − equally distributed between men and women − and the employment-to-population ratio was 46 per cent (54.5 per cent for men and 37.3 per cent for women). Over 82 per cent of the unemployed had been searching for a job for one year and longer, making long term unemployment one of the most serious problems of the labour market.

Youth unemployment and underemployment represent a major challenge for the country. One in every two young persons in the national labour force is unemployed. The high youth unemployment rate –– means a loss of investment in education and training, a reduced tax base and higher social costs. At the same time, long periods of unemployment in the early stages of life affect the job prospects across the working-life span of young people.

The share of informal employment is estimated at over 22.5% of the total employment in the country (58,811 out of 271,307 employed women and 93,993 out of 407,531 employed men). High instances of informal employment have various negative effects on the economy, on working conditions generally, and on the policy making process.