Mr. Panagiotou also referred to the issue of telecommuting regulation, noting that an updated bill will soon be submitted that will take into account the issue of personal data
The Ministry of Labor will evaluate the data on the opening hours of the stores and will proceed to a dialogue with those involved in order to reach a collective decision, said the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance Yiannis Panagiotou.
In his statements after his meeting with the General Confederation of All Cypriot Organizations of Craft Professional Branch Managers (POVEK), Mr. Panagiotou also referred to the issue of the regulation of teleworking, noting that an updated bill will soon be submitted that will take into account the issue of personal data while is being prepared by the Ministry of Finance and a framework for teleworking in the public sector.
The main issues raised by POVEK to the Minister were the opening hours of the shops and the rights of the self-employed.
The Minister stated that he expressed the position on the need for better regulation of the labor market.
“It is necessary to develop a structured dialogue through which the experience of the previous period will be evaluated in order to plan the next steps”, he said. employees and the self-employed in order not to make a problematic separation between salaried work and self-employment, which is necessary for proper support for the self-employed.
Asked whether there was any discussion about unemployment benefits for the self-employed, the Minister said that the Republic of Cyprus has already undertaken obligations on the matter in the context of the Recovery and Resilience Plan and planning has already been done by the Social Insurance Agency.
“There are various practical issues in relation to this and various practical difficulties, which, however, both technocratically and politically through the discussion with the social partners and for this issue, especially together with POVEK, we have to manage in order to reach solutions which can be applicable and mutually acceptable”, he said.
When asked whether any regulation on the opening hours of shops is expected soon, the Minister said that the opening hours affect the economy, society, many businesses, employers and employees. He noted that specific provisions have been implemented in recent years and expressed the Ministry's intention to evaluate the experience accumulated in previous years, without prejudices and biases of any kind, so that in dialogue with the stakeholders involved it can be decided what is best for society and the economy. He expressed the certainty that with the aim of the collective good they will collectively manage to decide in which directions they will move.
Asked if there are thoughts about a six-day operation, the Minister said that he would refrain from going into the substance of the debate since it would not be right on his part, since in the context of the dialogue he will have the responsibility to coordinate this debate in a way that is of everyone accepted.
Asked about the discussions on four-day work and whether he sees this as a positive thing, the Minister noted that flexibility in work in relation to time and space, utilizing the possibilities of teleworking, is the orientation they have for work in the modern world. He added that the ways in which these possibilities can be exploited are the subject of a discussion that takes place with organized groups but also institutionalized with the labor advisory body. When there is something concrete in relation to this it will be announced, he added.
Telework bill update and arrangements for public
Asked whether there will soon be a bill regulating telecommuting in the public sector, he said that the bill tabled in Parliament on telecommuting initially focused on the private sector. At the same time, he added, preparations are being made at the Ministry of Finance for the submission of a framework for flexible forms of work in the public administration which also includes provisions for teleworking.
At the same time, he said, because some updates needed to be made to the bill as it was filed, within the next period it will be filed in an updated form, so as to respond to parameters concerning the protection of personal data.
“We expect that in the autumn when the House of Representatives will function again, the bill on teleworking as it will be updated will be able to be discussed in more detail in the Labor Committee in the House, to then be submitted for approval to the Plenary of the House of Representatives,” he said .
He added that despite the positive mood of the Labor Committee of the Parliament, to immediately discuss the issue, practically due to the closure of the Parliament, its approval will not be possible in the coming weeks. He added that they will continue to be in consultation with both the President and the members of the Labor Committee, so that in the Autumn, as soon as possible, the passage of the bill can proceed.
“We are in communication and cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, so that teleworking can be utilized as soon as possible by both the private and public sectors,” he said. He added that in order for this to be done, the appropriate institutional framework must exist in one way or another.
POVEK feels a new aura in the Ministry of Labor
For his part, POVEK CEO Stefanos Koursaris said that in today's meeting with the Minister they felt a “new aura for the better”.
He said that the Minister listened carefully to the issues and issues raised by POVEK such as her participation in the Labor Advisory Council and the Board of Directors of the Human Resources Development Authority.
He noted that the main issue they raised was store hours.
“Finally there must be legally regulated opening hours for shops in Cyprus and from what we understand the Minister of Labor will start such a dialogue with all the agencies involved so that we can now seriously consider this matter,” he added.
Mr. Koursaris also referred to the issues of discrimination against the self-employed, noting that they will examine them with the Ministry's technocrats, so that these discriminations can be alleviated.
He expressed satisfaction for the meeting expressing the belief that the new wind blowing from the Ministry of Labor will help the mass of small and medium enterprises to find solutions to the issues that concern them.
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