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Flash reports on recent social policy initiatives in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Spain and Turkey

Recent social policy initiatives in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Spain and Turkey

Five new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent policy developments in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Spain and Turkey.

  • The income poverty rate among the elderly in Cyprus dropped from 46.3% in 2008 to 17.3% in 2015. This spectacular reduction is an important achievement but may not be fully preserved in the future without measures safeguarding the prerogative (and obligation) of all workers to secure an adequate pension through accumulating sufficient social insurance rights.
  • Attempts of the Czech Ministry of Health to regulate prices for nursing services in residential social service facilities have been annulled by the Constitutional Court because they do not comply with existing legislation. However, since the Court found the proposals of the government to be reasonable, it suggested to achieve the desired outcome by a change in law. 
  • In Serbia, workers employed by private employment agencies often face discrimination and precarious working conditions because of inadequate and inconsistent regulation. National trade unions and civil society organisations called for better legal protection of the workers concerned and the government is now drafting amendments to the labour law to tackle this issue.
  • In Spain, the government of Navarre has recently introduced a new minimum income scheme. In addition to offering better minimum income protection, the new scheme includes employment incentives and provisions for integrated personalised “social inclusion pathways” to help people into work. There will be biannual evaluations of the new scheme. These will be of crucial importance to help assess if and how other public administrations can learn from this Act which is quite innovative in Spain.
  • In January 2017, a new law came into effect in Turkey: all employees under 45 are now automatically assigned to a pension plan under the voluntarily funded pension scheme,  unless they request to opt out in writing. Though the current drop-out rate is higher than anticipated, the transition from an opt-in to an opt-out system is expected to significantly increase the number of participants in the insurance scheme.