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Cyprus

MPs say self employed need better protection

SELF-employed people are not entitled to unemployment benefit so they require protection and support, deputies said yesterday during a meeting of the House Commerce Committee.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Lefteris Christoforou said people who are self-employed are fighting on a daily basis for survival.

“There are currently 34,000 people who are self-employed and they have been left hanging with unemployment lingering over their heads like Damocles’ sword,” he said.

According to Christoforou they are not even entitled to the minimum unemployment benefit that all other Cypriot citizens are entitled to.

It was put forward during the committee meeting from all of the relevant authorities to provide a comprehensive framework for the management and support of these groups.

The chairman said there are certain programmes currently that people who are self-employed can join to help them survive and support them.

He called on the Commerce Ministry to expedite the Business Fund to enable self employed people to draw cheap liquidity to aid the survival of their businesses.

AKEL MP Costas Costa said freelancers and self-employed people are in a worse situation compared to others due to the crisis because the minimal turnover of their businesses is forcing them to close.

He said according to a representative from the small shopkeepers’ union POVEK, a number of suggestions have been made to the government and some of them have been approved.

Costa added that for AKEL the problem is still serious while there is no social net to protect this group of workers.

More measures need to be taken, he added, following social dialogue, like allowing those who are self-employed who have lost their jobs to receive unemployment benefit.

He said the subject would be discussed again in two weeks when the Committee meets again to hear a comprehensive proposal which will be submitted by POVEK.

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