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The Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur replied to the interpellation concerning application of labour market measures in the situation of abrupt rise in unemployment (No 283), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mai Treial, Villu Reiljan, Karel Rüütli, Ester Tuiksoo, Tarmo Mänd and Jaanus Marrandi on 16 April.
 
Pevkur explained that a discussion between social partners and representatives of the Ministry had been organised by the Minister of Social Affairs in March this year in order to deliberate the preliminary ideas for reduction of the impacts of the economic crisis and for stabilisation of the labour market. The discussion had concluded with an agreement in fourteen issues for further action. “In the economic recession phase when unemployment is growing and the employers’ need for labour force is diminishing, attention has to be paid to maintaining employment as well as addressing unemployment,” stressed Pevkur. In order to maximise the perspectives of people to find employment in their newly acquired specialisation as soon as possible, the people who find a job at the time of labour force training will be allowed to complete the training.
 
In Pevkur’s words, there are numerous opportunities to offer training for employees at the moment which, however, are not widely known. Therefore, the primary focus is on providing precise information about all opportunities and people are encouraged to use them in combination. “The only measure that the state can offer for facilitating creation of jobs is business start up subsidy for unemployed. At present, business start up subsidy is available for establishing a company. There are plans to grant start-up assistance granted on the bases similar to enterprise support to the unemployed who wish to establish a non-profit association as an alternative form of employment,” explained the Minister of Social Affairs. In addition, electronic opportunities for registration as unemployed and for informing about services and vacant positions are extended. The opportunity to publicly notify of vacant positions was implemented already on 16 March. Information about the positions of which employers have notified and which they have allowed to disclose is publicly available.
 
As of 1 May, the Unemployment Insurance Fund assumed the functions of the Labour Market Board. “People who have lost their job can now obtain all the information necessary for job-seeking form one place. The function of the consultants of the Unemployment Insurance Fund is, in the first place, to counsel the unemployed and to provide assistance in the job seeking process. In order to speed up the process, the opening hours have been extended and the number of staff has been increased. There are plans to simplify the procedure for registration as unemployed and payment of benefits, in the first place by extending the opportunities of electronic administration and reducing the obligation to submit papers. For this purpose, a new up to date information system and a user friendly job intermediation portal are being set up gradually,” explained Pevkur.
 
The Minister of Social Affairs also replied to the interpellation concerning the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (No 291), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Jaak Aab, Toomas Varek, Helle Kalda, Kalev Kallo, Tiit Kuusmik, Valeri Korb and Arvo Sarapuu on 7 May.
 
The Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas replied to the interpellation concerning renewal of social guarantees of the state to students (No 281), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Karel Rüütli, Villu Reiljan, Ester Tuiksoo, Jaanus Marrandi, Tarmo Mänd and Mai Treial on 15 April.
 
During the open microphone, Jaan Kundla took the floor.
 
The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) is available at:
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
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