The cabinet on Tuesday approved off-season training schemes for hospitality workers in tourist areas and pay scale updates for the police and fire service, as well as upgrading the forestry department’s tree planting initiative.

Deputy government spokesperson Niovi Parisinou said that an emergency training scheme was approved for people working at entertainment centres in Famagusta and Paphos that will not operate between November and March 2023.

The council of ministers also approved a similar training scheme for those working in hotels that suspend operations either partially or fully between November and March 2023, and between January and May 2023 for hotels in mountain resorts.

Training programmes will be carried out internally by the affected businesses, which will be responsible for paying trainees an allowance amounting to their normal salary during the training period, on the basis of which all social insurance contributions will be made.

At the same time, trainees will receive the unemployment benefits they are entitled to from the social insurance services.

It was also announced that the cabinet approved upgrades to the salary scales for special police officers, constables and firefighters up to the rank of senior police officer and the corresponding rank in the fire service.

After the session, Justice Minister Stephie Dracou said that the decision will be quickly and directly forwarded to the House for a vote.

The cabinet also amended its previous decision regarding the tree planting programme aimed at combating climate change, increasing the number of saplings that will be granted free of charge by the forestry department to 100,000.

“The beneficiaries are ordinary members of the public who will take the plants for their own use within their property,” Parisinou said.

Plants will be available during Tree Week. More information will be made available shortly by the forestry department.