Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
04.12.2009 | Maxim Shcherbatyuk
minimum+subsistence, minimum+wage, minimum+populism

Increase in social standards: myth or reality?


During election campaigns all political forces try to promise as much as possible and do what they can boast of at each step. As a rule all of these actions end in the pronouncement of populist calls, the passing of ill-founded decisions, as well as laws which cannot be enforced. In this way the myth is created of a party looking after people.

At the end of October, the Verkhovna Rada passed, and the President signed, a Law “On establishing the subsistence minimum and the minimum wage” which envisages an increase from November 2009 of basic social standards. Yet nobody has even considered how this law should be implemented.

 When passing the law no consideration was given either of the fact that according to the Law “On the subsistence minimum” this figure is fixed by the Cabinet of Ministers after scientific and public expert opinions, a choice of food items, other goods and services or that the subsistence minimum is approved by the Verkhovna Rada in the law on the State Budget for the relevant year. The changes in the size of the minimum wage which are introduced by other laws and normative legal acts are only valid after changes have been made to the Budget for the year in question.

Yet why bother if the main thing is to demonstrate your concern for the people. It was only later, after some State bodies and NGOs began pointing out the impossibility of implementing this law that the Verkhovna Rada added the relevant amendments to the Law on the Budget for this year.

We can talk as much as we like about an increase in the size of the minimum subsistence level, the minimum wage and pension. Yet when there are problems in determining the basis on which these indicators exist, specifically a minimum basket of products and other goods, all these increases cannot change anything in this sphere.

This demonstrates yet again the lack of thought and populism in the actions of the authorities in carrying out policy on social provisions, as well as the lack of a systemic approach in increasing social standards.

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