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FIRMS PUT TRAINING OF EMPLOYEES ON HOLD

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EVEN THOUGH the euro should already be on price tags and accounting documents in Slovakia by the summer, firms are not rushing the preparation of their employees for the new currency.

EVEN THOUGH the euro should already be on price tags and accounting documents in Slovakia by the summer, firms are not rushing the preparation of their employees for the new currency.

Businesses are waiting until May for the final confirmation from the European Commission that the country will really adopt the European single currency as of January 1, 2009.

"I assume that interest in training and seminars on preparation for the arrival of the euro will only increase in April," Vladimír Sirotka, the president of the Association of Small Businessmen, told the Pravda daily.

The Tesco retail chain in Slovakia needs to train about 6,000 workers for the new currency.

"We will probably launch training seminars in the fall so that the employees remember all the information," said Aleš Doložílek, Tesco's manager for euro adoption, told the daily.

Accounting companies and shops will spend the biggest amounts of money on training their employees. This is because prices in Slovak crowns as well as euros will have to be on price tags, invoices, wage forms and receipts

According to the euro adoption legislation, each company must bear its own preparation costs for euro adoption, and cannot adversely affect the prices of services or products because of it. This is valid for both the private and public sector.

The COOP Jednota retail chain has allocated about Sk15 million in education and training for its employees in 2008, COOP Jednota head Gabriel Csollár told the daily.

"We want all 13,300 employees to be well prepared for this change," said Csollár.

Cashiers have to be prepared to work with both currencies which will be in circulation simultaneously during the first 16 days.

"It is important that workers are able to identify fakes," said Doložílek. The change of currency is an opportunity to get fake banknotes into circulation.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of euro lectures and training seminars offered by companies and agencies has increased. They are priced between Sk2,000 and Sk3,000 per seminar.

The Association of Small Businessmen holds free training.

"We asked the cabinet for money from the package allocated for the euro campaign, but they turned our request down," said Sirotka of the association. It wants to hold 30 seminars for companies and citizens.

The government also organises euro training seminars, but they are only for businessmen. For citizens who do not run any business, the government will use the media and implement special projects for sensitive groups such as pensioners or minorities. Every family will receive a so-called euro calculator by mail, which will automatically count crowns into euros and vice versa using the official conversion rate.

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