The International Labor Day finds Kosovo and the world almost paralyzed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The closure of many businesses in Kosovo, now six weeks, has left a large number of people unemployed and without any source of income. In order to alleviate this problem, the Government of Kosovo, in March 2020, approved an emergency fiscal package to help businesses and provide symbolic financial support to private sector workers.
In the past 365 days Kosova Democratic Institute has received 150 complaints from workers related to the violation of basic labor rights. Work without contracts, non-payment of salary on time, deprivation of weekly, annual and medical leave, non-payment of pension contributions by the employer even though those funds are stopped by basic salary, manipulated hiring procedures of institutions for accommodation of persons with political affiliation, firings from work without prior warning, extended working hours without any compensation and so on, which constitute the nature of the reported violations.
KDI recalls that the right to weekly, annual and medical leave, the right to have an employment contract, the payment of pension contributions, equality and non-discrimination in hiring procedures, the warning for termination of employment, the 8-hour schedule are basic rights and inalienable, for whose violations, businesses continue not to be penalized. Today, May 1, we demand that the attention and institutional actions be seriously turned to addressing the continuous violations of labor rights, especially now that the gradual opening of businesses has been announced. Protecting the health of workers and respecting their rights in times of a pandemic should be a priority for all relevant institutions.
It is time that the Government takes immediate action to increase the number of inspectors on the ground, ensuring that the Labor Law and other laws relating to workers’ rights would not remain on paper alone. The Judiciary must also take measures so that cases arising from the employment relationship are treated with high priority. KDI encourages all citizens to report to the relevant state institutions the violations committed against them in the workplace.
The full report can be found here.