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Parliament reconvenes and advances bills

Parliament continued its 20th session of this election term on April 1.

Parliament continued its 20th session of this election term on April 1.

It has already approved a bill on employment that allows labour offices to set how frequently the unemployed must prove that they are actively seeking work.

The amendment also lays out plans for the Ministry of Labour to create so- called social enterprises – state-subsidised companies in which disadvantaged job seekers make up 30 percent of the staff. Upon the president’s signature, the bill will come into effect on May 1.

The amendment also introduced a new subsidy that should motivate low-paid employees to stay with companies. The contribution will cover the employee’s part of compulsory health and social insurance contributions. Employers will be entitled to the subsidy when employees' gross monthly wages falls below 50 percent of the average monthly wage. The contribution will be provided over a period of 24 months at most, while the employer is obliged to preserve the job for two years. This measure should create jobs for about 1,500 unemployed people annually.

Parliament also moved a revision to the Public Procurement Law to a second reading. The revision is supposed to prevent the use of references as a bid assessment criterion, stated the Public Procurement Office.

The revision bans the application of requirements to prove one's financial or economic position and technical as well as professional experience as evaluation criteria. A contract is to be awarded to the applicant with the best bid, not to someone with the best financial and economic position, or technical and expert skills, the Public Procurement Office stated in justifying the revision.

The amendment will reduce the financial limit for the determination of the so-call above-limit orders. According to the revision, an order will be considered above limit if its value exceeds at least €133,000, compared with the current €154,000. It defines the process of opening envelopes with bids in the event of an electronically submitted bid. If an applicant fails to submit the bid in required format and/or violates encryption methods determined by the procurer, which will disable access to the bid's content, this fact shall be used as a reason to exclude the bidder from the tender, according to the revision.

Parliament also advanced a short amendment to the Labour Code that would ban retail sale on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. On Christmas Eve, shops would have to be closed as of midday. The ban would not apply to petrol stations, pharmacies, hospitals, airports, ports and other facilities of public transport or shops that sell transportation tickets and souvenirs.

And lastly, a draft bill on the organisation of state support for research and development was advanced. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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