The Community Works Programme (CWP) of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRM), is an active labor market policy intervention implemented through a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and local municipalities, and funded centrally by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) since 2014. Under the programme the participating municipalities, with the support of the Employment Services Agency (ESA) and UNDP, train and employ workers from a pool of long-term unemployed to serve as social care providers to different target groups in the local community, namely the elderly, adults or children with disabilities or pre-school children.
The CWP targets selective employment of unemployed workers registered in the ESA Register, particularly vulnerable population groups, including social benefit recipients and long-term unemployed. Those selected are employed by the local municipalities at a part-time job (20 hours per week) for a period of six months, in the provision of services according to the needs of local community citizens. The type of services to be provided are determined through a local needs assessment. Monthly remuneration is at MKD 6,200 in 2016 prices (corresponding to approximately half the minimum monthly wage of MKD 13,986),2 which includes personal income tax and insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases. Social benefit recipients are entitled to use social benefit during their work engagement.
The CWP foresees that while the employed workers provide services to local communities, they also gain work experience and professional skills that will increase their employability in the future. Hence the intervention is justified on two grounds: improving the quality, efficiency and inclusiveness of public services by supporting local governments to fulfill their responsibilities for social care, education and healthcare towards vulnerable groups in disadvantaged regions; while at the same time encouraging inclusion of long-term unemployed workers in the labour market.
The programme was piloted by UNDP in 4 municipalities in 2012. Given its popularity, it was expanded initially to 14 municipalities in 2013, 30 municipalities in 2014, reaching a maximum of 42 municipalities in 2015, and back to 30 municipalities in 2016. In this period, it is reported that over 17 thousand people
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