Fulfillment of all social obligations of state ensured in 2021 — Shapkenov

During the extended session of the board of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Kazakhstan, the head of the ministry Serik Shapkenov summed up the results of work done in 2021.

The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yeraly Tugzhanov, deputies of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, representatives of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms, central government bodies, deputies of akims of regions and cities of republican significance, the Federation of Trade Unions, NCE Atameken, international organizations, NGOs.

Opening the work of the meeting, Serik Shapkenov emphasized that in 2021, as part of the development of the social and labor sphere, the ministry had timely and responsibly implemented the tasks set by the President and the Government.

“In the reporting year, the fulfillment of all social obligations of the state was ensured. 3.7 trillion tenge was allocated for social payments, which amounted to 24% of the republican budget expenditures. As part of the annual indexation, an increase in pensions and benefits was provided for 4 million Kazakhstanis. A gradual increase in the wages of civil servants continued, on average, its growth amounted to 19% in the education system, 20-30% in healthcare, and up to 45% in the social sphere. In addition, working Kazakhstanis received payments from the State Social Insurance Fund in the event of insurance risks. In 2021, the volume of payments amounted to about 340 billion tenge for about 1.1 million people,” Shapkenov said.

The minister also added that last year, the department, in pursuance of the instructions of the Head of State, carried out work to improve the quality of life of Kazakhstanis from Jan. 1, 2022. Thus, since the beginning of this year, wages have been increased for another 591 thousand civil servants (employees of cultural organizations, archives, including technical staff, etc.). Growth will average 20% annually until 2025. Also, from Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum wage has been increased to 60 thousand tenge. This increase will have a positive impact on the income of 1 million 650 thousand employees.

Modernization of the pension system continues

Presenting the results of the development of the country's pension system, the head of the ministry stressed that the provision of pensions to citizens is an area of ​​work of the ministry, which already today requires decisive measures to prevent the deterioration of the situation of future pensioners.

Serik Shapkenov recalled that today there are 2.2 million pensioners in the country, the average pension from the budget is 99,937 tenge (including solidarity pension — 68,839 tenge, basic — 31,098 tenge).

In 2021, on behalf of the Head of State, citizens were given the right to withdraw part of their pension savings. As of Feb. 18, 2022, more than 1 million applications were approved in total in the amount of about 2.79 trillion tenge. At the same time, the coefficient of replacement of lost income by a pension decreases annually, taking into account the transition from solidary to funded pension.

“According to the actuarial calculations of the UAPF, in 2028 the pension will replace only about 47.4% of the average monthly salary. In 2040, already 39.2%, and in 2060 only 29.5%. Therefore, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the pension system, work is currently underway to introduce changes and additions to the current Concept for further modernization of the pension system,” Shapkenov said.

First, according to him, as part of improving the system of minimum guarantees, from 2028, a transition from the basic pension payment to the minimum guaranteed pension is envisaged. Today, a specific mechanism for its appointment is being worked out.

Second, from 2023, the introduction of 5% mandatory pension contributions from employers is envisaged. The introduction of the contributions is already provided for by the current concept. As a result, the level of pension coverage of citizens will be maintained not lower than the standard recommended by the International Labor Organization (replacement by a pension of at least 40% of lost income).

Accessibility of facilities for persons with disabilities should not be on paper only

Turning to the issue of the quality of life of persons with disabilities, Shapkenov criticized the work of local executive bodies to adapt facilities for persons with disabilities. In his speech, the minister noted that a set of measures is being implemented in Kazakhstan to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities (hereinafter referred to as PWD). So, in October 2021, amendments to the legislation were adopted, providing for a number of improving norms. As a result, 26.3 thousand people received a single allowance for the care and support of persons with disability group I; for 57.2 thousand children with disabilities, division into groups was carried out, which also provides for an increase in the size of the allowance; 2.8 thousand recipients have the opportunity to simultaneously receive disability and survivor benefits.

“There are about 700 thousand people with disabilities in the republic. The economy employs 126 thousand or less than 25% of the able-bodied (417.8 thousand). By the end of 2022, we plan to increase the share of employed people of working age to 25%. Since 2021, the Social Services Portal has been fully launched. About 371 thousand people or 87.4% of the need were provided with compensatory funds,” Shapkenov informed.

At the same time, the head of the ministry stressed that there are still issues that need to be addressed.

“Rehabilitation issues are especially relevant. In this regard, it is planned to build new rehabilitation centers for 150 places each in 12 regions in 2022-2024. In 2021, their construction began in the East Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Turkestan regions. This year, construction is planned in the Aktobe and West Kazakhstan regions. The ministry keeps this issue under special control. There should also be strict control over the progress of construction in the regions,” Shapkenov said.

The minister also noted the importance of ensuring the availability of social and transport infrastructure facilities for PWDs.

“According to the results of 2021, more than 5,000 objects were included in the Interactive Accessibility Map on the information portal Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities by local executive bodies. All of them are shown as adapted for all categories of persons with disabilities. However, inspections conducted by the territorial departments of the Committee for Labor, Social Protection and Migration revealed more than 2,000 violations (a total of 3,258 facilities were inspected, or 74% of the adaptation plan for 2021). Therefore, work on adaptation and ensuring the availability of objects should be under special control. The availability of facilities should not be on paper, they should be really accessible facilities,” the head of the ministry stressed.

Appointment of targeted social assistance payments to be centralized

According to the minister, in order to prevent violations in the appointment of targeted social assistance (hereinafter - TSA), this process will be centralized.

“Following the results of 2021, TSA was assigned to 198.4 thousand families, which is 7.4% higher than in 2020. 65.6 billion tenge was allocated for the payment of the TSA,” Shapkenov informed.

A guaranteed social package, according to him, was provided to 517.2 thousand children from families receiving TSA (including 259.4 thousand children of preschool age, 257.8 thousand children of school age). 20.5 billion tenge are provided for the payment of SHGs. Due to the increase in the number of TSA recipients in 2021, the ministry employees conducted on-site monitoring of the appointment of TSA, the results revealed violations in certain regions of the country, which led to an increase in recipients of assistance. For example, in Shymkent, at the end of 2021, the growth in the number of TSA recipients is 28.5%, the highest increase.

“The work to eliminate the identified violations has been carried out. In the future, such facts should not be repeated! To ensure the transparency of the TSA mechanism, work has begun this year on the centralization of payments through the State Corporation ‘Government for Citizens,’’ Shapkenov said.

The ministry automates the process of promoting employment of the population

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan has tightened the conditions for creating subsidized work measures and has begun work on automating all employment promotion measures to eliminate corruption risks in the process of providing services.

As the minister noted, in 2021, more than 815 thousand people are covered by active measures to promote employment under the Enbek State Program. 486 thousand people were employed, including 402 thousand for permanent jobs.

As part of the Employment Roadmap, 247 projects are being implemented. Only in the first direction of the map, 10.9 thousand jobs were created. In addition, 566 thousand jobs were created as part of public and private initiatives.

“In October 2021, the National Entrepreneurship Development Project was approved, which provides for the main tasks and targets for the current year. This year, employment measures are planned to cover 700,000 people,” said Shapkenov.

According to him, the creation of jobs within the framework of national projects until 2025 formed the basis of the Model Regional Map. Monitoring will be carried out through the information system. In order to expand online learning opportunities, the Skills.enbek.kz portal will continue to operate, which provides an opportunity to learn skills that are in demand on the labor market.

At the same time, the head of the ministry stressed that there are questions about the effectiveness of the measures being implemented.

“In 2021, more than 180 thousand people were sent to subsidized jobs. This tool is necessary to ensure employment of the population. However, it is necessary to reformat the approaches, because after the completion of temporary work, not all participants get a permanent job. At the end of 2021, after working at social workplaces, 78% of participants were permanently employed, after youth practice — 62%, and after public works — only 32%. In the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent, the rate of employment for permanent jobs is the lowest. Another problem is that individual employers, without having their own staff, work at the expense of subsidized jobs. Colleagues, sending to subsidized jobs does not solve unemployment issues. We need to work with employers! Social jobs should become a springboard for the unemployed in their subsequent employment in permanent jobs,” said Shapkenov.

According to him, the ministry approved rules with more stringent conditions. First, the number of subsidized jobs created is tied to the organization's headcount. Second, the wages of participants have been increased, the terms of participation, the contingent of participants in subsidized jobs have been revised.

“In addition, work is underway to automate all measures to promote employment. In order to eliminate corruption risks, the participation of the human factor in the process of providing services will be minimized,” added Shapkenov.

The minister also recalled that in 2021, the approaches to the implementation of the Employment Roadmap were revised. At the same time, not all regions achieved the planned goals.

“In the Kyzylorda region, due to the risk of non-development, 1.9 billion tenge were withdrawn through bonded loans. Despite this withdrawal, disbursement for the year in the region was 59%. Colleagues, funds were allocated from the National Fund. There will be demand from everyone,” the head of the ministry stressed.

In terms of employment in the implementation of Employment Roadmap projects, the minister noted the Almaty region. In 2021, construction work was carried out in the region on 16 projects, including 8 projects that will be carried over from 2020. It was planned to employ about 2.5 thousand people, but only 519 people or 21.3% were employed.

“Today, through the information system, we can fully monitor the availability of mandatory pension contributions of persons employed on projects. At the end of 2021, low rates for OPV in the West Kazakhstan region and Almaty,” Shapkenov emphasized.

The head of the ministry also noted that the balance of supply and demand for labor requires the availability of demanded qualified personnel that meet the requirements of the modern labor market.

“In 2022, it is planned to legislate the norms for involving the informally and self-employed population in the labor market, stimulating citizens to improve their qualifications and develop skills and competencies, especially digital ones,” said Shapkenov.

According to him, in order to understand what kind of specialists will be in demand in the near future, the ministry plans to annually provide a forecast of the professions in demand by industry and region. It is also expected to revise the rules for the formation of the National system for forecasting labor resources.

On the regulation of ethnic and labor migration in Kazakhstan, the Head of the ministry said that in 2021, more than 7 thousand qandas and migrants (2.6 thousand families) were included in the regional quota and provided with state support measures for resettlement. In 2021, to develop support for ethnic Kazakhs, the size of the subsidy for moving was doubled (from 35 MCI (107.2 thousand tenge) to 70 MCI (214.4 thousand tenge).

The minister also noted that in order to protect the domestic market Labor annually establishes and distributes a quota for attracting foreign specialists to the republic.Currently, according to him, the ministry continues to work on the adoption of functions on issues of labor immigrants and refugees.

“The ministry has developed a draft of a new concept of migration policy, which determines its development for the next five years. To protect the rights of Kazakh citizens working abroad, bilateral agreements (memorandums) will be signed to ensure the labor and social rights of labor migrants,” Shapkenov informed.

The minister emphasized that the local executive bodies need to implement the set tasks and achieve the indicators set for 2022.

First, within the framework of interregional labor mobility, provide at least 6.3 thousand migrants (south-north).

Second, when forming a quota for attracting foreign labor, pay special attention to:

- reducing the number of employees in categories 3 and 4;

- compliance with the requirements for ensuring kazderzhanie in personnel.

Third, to take preventive measures to prevent disparities in wages between Kazakh and foreign workers.

The ministry will develop amendments to the legislation in the field of labor relations

During his speech at the meeting, Shapkenov noted that the issues of regulation of labor relations are under special control of the ministry.

According to him, today monitoring covers 66 enterprises. There are still risks associated with the dissatisfaction of workers with the size of wages. They are mainly observed in Mangystau (27 enterprises), Atyrau (12) and West Kazakhstan (7) regions. At present, in 46 enterprises at risk, the main demand of employees is also an increase in wages.

In this regard, the ministry conducted an analysis of wages of employees based on the receipt of mandatory pension contributions for them.

“Following the results of 2021, 53.4% ​​of employees (3.1 million people) received a salary of up to 157 thousand tenge or below the “median”. Based on the results of monitoring wages, we sent lists of 2.8 thousand large enterprises to akimats, with which, together with trade unions, it is necessary to work to increase wages,” Shapkenov said.

According to him, the issue of timely remuneration is also under constant control. Today, wage arrears amount to 901 million tenge, incl. current and overdue — 188 million tenge, at bankrupt enterprises — 713 million tenge.

“There should be a very serious approach to the issue of debt. Akimats, together with state revenue authorities, should work out in detail for each enterprise where there are wage arrears, including bankrupt enterprises,” Shapkenov emphasized.

As the minister further noted, as part of improving labor legislation, a law was adopted in 2021 that regulates the forms of remote work that have been widely developed recently. The government, together with associations of trade unions and employers, has begun the implementation of a new General Agreement, which defines the main areas of cooperation in the field of employment, social protection, professional standards, improvement of working conditions and remuneration, labor protection and safety, etc.

The list of jobs in which the work of women is limited has been canceled . Thus, their employment opportunities have been expanded, including in industries with higher wages. At present, according to the head of the ministry, the work of tripartite commissions on social partnership is led by akims of the regions.

On the labor resources portal hr.enbek.kz from Dec. 1, 2021, the "Online labor consultant" functionality was launched. An employer can turn to a service that will replace a real labor inspector for him and will check the correctness of the planned or completed procedures online.

“At the end of 2021, the following can be noted. The repayment of 5.6 billion tenge of wage arrears was ensured for more than 23 thousand employees. The number of accidents at work decreased by 2.5%,” Serik Shapkenov summed up.

In conclusion, the minister announced work plans for 2022 to ensure decent work for Kazakhstanis.

“Firstly, bills will be developed that provide for the regulation of new forms of employment, the participation of trade unions in resolving labor conflicts. Secondly, we envisage updating the Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention and Resolution of Labor Conflicts, as well as the Action Plan for Ensuring Safe Labor. Particular attention will be paid to measures to increase the wages of workers and reduce industrial injuries,” Shapkenov said.

Shapkenov also spoke about the implementation of the instructions of the Head of State. At the meeting of the Majilis of the Parliament in January this year, the Head of State paid special attention to the issues of employment and increasing the income of the population, gave specific instructions on employment and increasing the income of the population. Some of them, according to the head of the ministry, have already been fully implemented.

Thus, in terms of youth employment, in order to implement the instructions of the President, the terms of passage and wages for the Youth Practice and First Job projects have been increased. Youth practice has been extended from 6 to 12 months, wages have been increased to 30 MCI (currently 25 MCI). The term of participation in the project "First Job" was extended from 12 to 18 months with a similar increase in wages up to 30 MCI (currently - 20 MCI).

To develop business initiatives of young people, on behalf of the Head of State, the size of the grant was doubled (from 200 MCI to 400 MCI, or from 612.6 thousand to 1.2 million tenge).

“On Jan. 21 2022, at a meeting with representatives of large domestic businesses, the head of state instructed to reduce the quota for attracting foreign labor. The order has been executed, the corresponding order has already been accepted by us. The quota has been reduced from 28,352 units to 23,560 units. This measure will lead to the protection of the domestic labor market, as well as to the employment of Kazakhstani citizens,” Serik Shapkenov concluded.

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