Centralized Resettlement of Employees

The Public Administration reform, which has been discussed by governmental bodies for a long time, should be implemented more quickly. It is a request of the European Union as well. One of the main challenges of reformation is its social impact. There are hundreds of employees that are considered as a surplus in different institutions.

What should be done with these employees, knowing that the state cannot simply lay them off? Which institutions are in need of more employees?

There are three institutions that have officially asked the Ministry of Finance for more staff. The first is the Tax Administration of Kosova, which has requested more inspectors for controlling businesses. The second is Kosova Customs, which has requested more customs officers. Both of these institutions collect more than 90% of the budget. Allowing for an increase in the number of employees can increase the amount of money collected from businesses and would be a stable/sustainable economic move. 

The third institution which needs more workers is the Labor Inspectorate. The current number of inspectors makes inspecting each business physically impossible. Doubling the number of inspectors together with an inspection plan would considerably lower the possibility of violating workers’ rights.

Many employees are currently working without contracts, documents which are the foundation of worker’s rights. There are violations with regard to the lack of necessary safety equipment, especially for employees working in the construction sector. There are violations with regard to the right of annual leave, medical leave, and maternity leave.

The transfer of employees from an institution to the other is possible. First, institutions would free themselves from the large number of employees. Second, after training, employees would be ready for a second occupation. It is common to find educated lawyers who currently work as assistants in different institutions.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Hykmete Bajrami, has already decided to resettle some of the ministry’s workers that have not been assigned enough tasks. Bajrami stated that some individuals were transferred to the Industrial Property Agency, because in this agency there are over 13 thousand applications of businesses awaiting for a response. According to her, all employees were assigned a target number of applications they are to review within a day.

The same practice was followed by Kosova Customs as well. According to this institution, up to 2014, half of employees have worked in offices while the other half in the field as customs officers. This has started to change as more workers will leave offices to become customs officers. However, Kosova Customs needs at least 100 other officers so as to complete its mission.

Since lowering the number of employees in the public administration is an EU condition, the government should start a cycle of internal job announcements in order to move employees from an institution to another, in order to ensure job placements for all of the employed. These placements should be accompanied with detailed job descriptions.

In addition, there are two other inspectorates which are very important for the economy of our country: the Trade Inspectorate under MTI, and Phytosanitary Inspectorate. The first is important to maintain balances and control the market. This includes ensuring fair competition and preventing costumer fraud. While the second would contribute in improving the quality of domestic products and increasing their safety. Both of these inspectorates are in need for more workers.

So now the Government of Kosova should specify the exact number of employees who are to be left without a job and of the ones who are eligible to be resettled.

The Ministry of Public Administration has drafted a Job Catalogue which extinguishes some positions that are currently functional. Even though the catalogue was signed by Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, and has entered into force on February 5th, 2015, its implementation was temporary halted by the Minister of Finances, Avdullah Hoti, who did not agree with it. The modification of this document is expected to happen after the approval of the Law on Wages and Benefits.

However, central and local institutions are not the only ones in need of a re-organization. Institutions that are in need of extra workers can ask for employees from public enterprises as well. It is publicly known that PTK and Post of Kosova have a large number of employees. Nearly 1/3 of PTK employees are considered as a surplus. KEK has also a large number of employees. Moreover, their number increases considerably with the transition to a more advanced mining technology. Until now KEK had a program which stimulated early retirement by offering employees up to 24 wages. So if KEK is ready to provide employees with 24 wages in advance while not using their serivces, why can’t the state direct these workers in sectors where they can be productive? KEK would pay their wages and they, for example, would work as inspectors.

We often hear excuses related to the insufficient budget, nevertheless, the insufficiency of ideas to use resources our country is endowed with (including human resources) in an effective way seems to be more problematic.

Merita Berisha
Prishtina, May 2015