“The protection of worker rights, through the actions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, has always been the government’s priority,” President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday in an address to the annual Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus (Deok) conference.
“To this extent, targeted inspections are carried out for stricter control of the labour market with the issuing of dissuasive penalties and administrative fines,” the President added in his address, which was recited by the Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Emilianidou.
The labour union conference was also attended by House President Annita Demetriou, Cyprus’ representative at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Maria Stylianou, as well as various party and trade union representatives.
In his address, the President said that the inspection service conducts more than 6,000 annual targeted inspections for undeclared work in order to safeguard worker rights.
“The reduction in the percentage of undeclared employment is remarkable, which according to the data of the inspections, in 2009 was estimated at 27 per cent, while in 2020 we achieved a reduction of the percentage to 10 per cent,” the President said.
Anastasiades also said that the new Ergani information system, which allows employers to electronically register with the social insurance service and has been operational since September 13, is also an important tool in the government’s efforts to bring down undeclared employment.
The President explained that in the first half of 2021, more than 9,000 inspections were carried out to verify compliance with the terms of employment and for undeclared work, while also adding that ‘advocating for equal pay for men and women is an integral part of our mission as a government’.
Referring to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the President said that the government’s actions managed to contain any adverse effects on the economy to a large extent.
“As a result of the efforts of all involved, but also of the targeted actions of the government, the economy is again recording positive growth rates while unemployment is following a significant downward trend, reaching, according to the latest data, 4.3 per cent, which is the lowest level of unemployment since 2009 “, he explained.
Regarding future reforms, Anastasiades referenced the government’s initial actions on the implementation of the minimum wage, social security system revisions, the studying of best practices from other European countries, as well as the redesign and simplification of social security services procedures.
“Our goal through these additional reforms and policies is the decisive improvement of the quality of service of citizens,” the President said, underlining the benefits of digitisation and other technology tools.