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Albania – Labour market reform taking cues from the German Hartz laws

02 April 2013

The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced the launch of discussions aimed at reforming the labour market. The coming reform will aim to increase the efficiency of public employment services and develop unemployment benefits into incentives to go back to work.

The talks focused on aspects of the German Hartz laws and their implementation in Albania; as a result a set of recommendations emerged, including the deregulation of the labour market, the removal of limitations on part time work, the automatic renewal of work contracts for fixed-term employees aged over 52, and finally the creation of new types of employment (‘minijob’ and ‘midijob’) through tax reduction.

The adaptation of these concepts in Albania is expected to benefit from fiscal and administrative reforms including the reduction of several taxes to support business development and the creation of new jobs; the completion of digitalization of the employment service; the successful piloting of some similar instruments in the labour market; the application of employment programmes already appreciated for their impact; support for social business, and the participation of local government into employment programmes.

Invited to the discussions were the representatives of the labour offices and heads of regions who have already used some new instruments to activate the labour market, the representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as academic labour market specialists.

Prime Minister Berisha declared: “The reforms have an interesting story. Some small and gradual changes brought about an important turnaround in the Federal Republic of Germany and in other countries as well. Hence, let us consider these elements together. Perhaps we cannot apply any of the Hartz concepts in full, but we do have many elements that can lead to a positive change and make cooperation between our agencies and the unemployed much more interactive. We can add more dynamics to the qualification of the labour force.”

He adds: “We are determined to cooperate with private employment agencies and consider their job indispensable. Our objective is to reduce cost at every labour unit; how to achieve a certain level of economic growth and have the maximum employment level.”

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