Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dead-end job or no job?

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It is one of the toughest questions facing anyone seeking a job in these turbulent times. Is it better to accept a dead-end job contract with no privileges, no social security and no pension benefits, or to pass on a potential earner and keep looking? If, as the daily Gazeta Wyborcza says, some 800,000 people work on such contracts in Poland, then clearly Poles do prefer to work in bad conditions rather than not work at all.

But this might change. Michal Boni, one of the prime minister's top advisers, has said it would make sense to block these contracts by adding obligatory pension payments to them that amount to about 20 percent of gross salary. Now let's think, there is around 20 percent unemployment among the youngest Poles, the very same ones that most often agree to such contracts. Given the high unemployment, it is very unlikely employers will bear additional costs. Much more likely is that employers will just cut salaries in order to keep their costs flat or hire people with no contract at all.

Instead of making making labour regulations more flexible to expand the number of people working legally, even if they don't benefit from all social benefits, rather Boni says we should make the rules more strict to likely promote moonlighting and cheating. This proposal comes when last month corporate employment in Poland dropped for the second month running.

The sad part is that no one asks these people whether they want to sacrifice 20 percent of their income for pension benefits or whether they really want to work without a contact at all. Some might be surprised by what they hear.

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