Belarus' unemployed officially freed from 'social parasite tax'

Belarus' unemployed officially freed from 'social parasite tax'

The first decree of 2018, known as Decree No. 1 on employment promotion, signed by Alexander Lukashenko on January 25, stipulates that employment commissions will be created in all regions, and non-working Belarusians will refund the costs of some services at economically justified tariffs starting from January 1, 2019. It's currently unknown what these services are.

"Belarus does not have many spheres that can be involved in the mechanism of full payment for consumed services. Medical care is free in Belarus under the Constitution. Everyone on demand is provided medical assistance - both employed and unemployed," said director of the Institute of Economics of the National Academy of Sciences Valery Belsky.

"In housing and communal services, it is possible to introduce full payment for services for non-working citizens. But in the short term there will be only two types of services that will be subsidized by the state and for the consumption of which non-working citizens may pay a 100-percent tariff. We are talking about heating and fuel supply. The cost of these services is largely subsidized by the state."

According to Valery Belsky, the working group on updating Decree No. 3 discussed dozens of options on how to get the unemployed population involved in financing state spending. But he said that some options may be disturbing to society and it may be quite difficult to calculate varying costs of public services depending on the employment status of a person.

"One of the main tasks set before the working group is to develop mechanisms for automatic, desk-based registration of citizens who are not engaged in socially useful labor, who are not employed in the economy," Valery Belsky noted.

MP Tamara Krasovskaya explained how local commissions will work with people who are not employed.

"They will meet with each of them and talk to find out why a person does not work, offer employment or retraining options, and listen to wishes. The essence of the work of these commissions will be individual approach," the parliamentarian stressed.

She noted that the main responsibility for the implementation of the decree lies with the local authorities, since they are the ones who must know every person in their region, their life circumstances. The work of such commissions will take into account the specifics of the labor market in each region. Where the situation with employment is more difficult, people will be offered help in opening their own business. "They will be helped and trained to ensure self-employment," added Tamara Krasovskaya.