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€31m to support employment amid coronavirus crunch

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Labour minister Zeta Emilianides

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianides on Thursday unveiled government schemes worth €31m aimed at supporting employment, as Cyprus feels the squeeze of the coronavirus crisis.

The schemes, approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, include €17m in incentives to employers to hire jobless individuals.

According to the minister, the state would grant a business up to €8,600 for 10 months for each new employee hired through the scheme. The objective is the recruitment of up to 2,000 unemployed individuals in the next 12 months.

Th package includes an incentives plan for the occupational rehabilitation of released prisoners worth €4m.

The objective is for companies to hire former prisoners as part of the policy of fighting poverty and social exclusion.

Employers would be granted up to €20,640 for 24 months for each new hiring through the scheme with the target being filling 200 jobs.

There is also a €10m scheme aimed at youths between 15 and 29 who are currently unemployed. Its aim is to boost their prospects in finding work but also support businesses stricken by the pandemic.

It provides for a grant of up to €8,600 for 10 months for each employee hired through the plan with the target being the recruitment of 1,200 jobless youths aged between 15 and 29 in the next 12 months.

To be eligible for participation, employers must meet certain conditions, including a pledge that they would keep the worker at their business for an additional two months after the end of the subsidy.

The employer cannot cut staff in the department where the individual will work under the scheme and their salary cannot be lower than what is provided by the decree on minimum salaries, even if the vocation is not included in those regulated.

Eligible businesses should not have dismissed any workers in the run up and recruitment under the scheme must represent a net increase in the total number of employees in the particular department.

The human resources development authority will also be running special training schemes for workers in the private sector and those without jobs.

A €14m training scheme starting next month will target 1,000 small and medium businesses hit by the pandemic. They will be subsidised — €12 per hour for 200 hours – to train workers an average one week a month.

A programme to train unemployed persons worth €7m will also be implemented by the authority, affording people without jobs to be trained in public and semi public organisations to gain experience and improve their employment prospects.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency