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Protecting and Promoting Labour Rights of Vulnerable Groups in the Labour Market

05.05.2022

This project aims to improve the working conditions for vulnerable categories of employees, notably within the private sector, including workplace health and safety for women and men, through the promotion of social dialogue between workers and duty bearers. This will be achieved through activities such as the development of a special section platform to report the violations of labour rights, monitoring and reporting the employment cases where the employees were victims of work injuries, capacity building and training of the duty bearers, capacity building training of the CSOs, journalists and human rights activists, raising public awareness on the Labour Law, the establishment of the consortium of CSOs to advocate for changes in the Labour law, sub-granting awards for CSOs, lawyers, and other registered entities to promote labour rights. These activities will ensure the effective implementation, quality of legal services, and creation of sustainable structures for future work in promoting labour rights.

Summary:

Effective implementation of the Labour Law in Kosovo, which was adopted on November 2, 2010, remains a challenge for private sector employers and public institutions in Kosovo. Workers’ rights are subject to grave violations in both sectors, thereby breaching important international labour standards and agreements. Large proportions of private sector employees are working within the informal economy and are thereby negatively affected by fiscal evasion. Most private sector employees work without contracts and insurance, meaning they endure long working hours, have no guaranteed leave days and are forced to cover all potential work-related injury costs from their own pockets.

International reports further attest to the insufficient implementation of the Labour law in Kosovo. The 2020 Commission Staff Working Document for Kosovo raises a number of concerns related to social policy and employment. The document reports non-compliance with occupational health and safety regulations, despite Kosovo having aligned its regulations with the EU directives on occupational health and safety at work in 2019. Of particular concern was the construction sector. Although the reported number of work-related incidents resulting in was lower in 2020 than in 2019, the numbers remain worrying.

Gender-based discrimination is omnipresent in the Kosovo labour market, and affects most areas covered within the Labour law, including, inter alia, the recruitment process, promotion, salary, and maternity leave. The 2020 Labour Force Survey notes significant gender differences in the Kosovo labour market, with only one in five (20.3%) of working-age women actively participating in the labour market, compared to three-fifths of working-age men. The survey reports higher rates of unemployment for women and, among the working population, a 0.4% salary difference in favour of men. Of notable concern is the inadequate implementation of the law regulating maternity leave.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation in the labour market. Measures adopted by the Government to curb the spread of the virus had a damaging effect on businesses and employees, with many businesses forced to reduce staff numbers and thus terminate employment contracts, with some completely closing down. The private sector has been hit the hardest. Many employees working for private businesses have reportedly been forced to take unpaid leave, had their salaries halved or had their employment contracts terminated.

The project comprises of direct work with employees, future potential employees, key stakeholders, private companies, citizens, and CSOs who play a central role in advocating and protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable groups of employees.

Donor:

European Union Office in Kosovo

Main Objective:

The overall objective of this project is to improve the working conditions for vulnerable categories of employees, notably within the private sector, including workplace health and safety for women and men, through the promotion of social dialogue between workers and duty bearers.

Specific Objectives:

Specific Objective 1: to strengthen compliance with labour laws through direct monitoring and reporting of labour rights abuse cases;

Specific Objective 2: to strengthen the capacities of duty bearers and CSOs to work on labour rights;

Specific Objective 3: to raise public awareness on labour law.

Main Activities:

  1. Development of a special section of the KALLXO.com platform to report “Violations of Labour Rights”;
  2. Organising joint inspections with the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) and the Labour Inspectorate;
  3. Monitoring citizens’ reports of labour rights violations in relevant institutions;
  4. Organising a three-day workshop on labour rights in Kosovo;
  5. Training for 20 duty bearers to strengthen their capacities on working with labour rights violation cases;
  6. Training for journalists on reporting on labour rights and violations;
  7. Interviewing 50 businesses, 20 employees (people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, women, youth) and analyse the level of implementation of the law;
  8. Carrying out a social media campaign;
  9. Establishing a Consortium of CSOs to advocate for changes in the Labour law;
  10. Organising information sessions on labour law in Kosovo municipalities;
  11. Launching a sub-granting scheme awarding up to 20 awards, amounting between EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000 for unions, CSOs, lawyer groups and other registered groups (entities) to promote labour rights, report violations, conduct research, and engage in social dialogue with public authorities.

Target Groups:

  • Workers;
  • Employers;
  • Justice Institutions (the Court, State Prosecutor, Police, Ombudsperson);
  • Labour Inspectorate;
  • Tax Administration of Kosovo;
  • Media in Kosovo;
  • Social-Economic Council;
  • Local CSOs;
  • Non-formal groups;
  • Human rights activists;
  • Potential future employees.

The main Implementer of this project: Advocacy Training and Resource Center – ATRC and the Partner: BIRN Kosovo