Shukhrat TURSUNBAYEV, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Social Affairs of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, member of the faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan:

— The Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis is considering a draft law “On strengthening responsibility for violating labor rights of citizens”. In the process of discussing it, the deputies faced a serious issue: How much the responsibility of employers need to be increased or the current minimum amount of fines left? On the one hand, the main share of employers are private entrepreneurs, and on the other hand, it is important to regulate their activities in order to achieve justice and ensure reliable protection of labor rights of workers.

Analysis of law enforcement practice in this area indicates the growth of such types of offenses as violations in labor protection, lack of guarantees in employment, the use of labor of minors, administrative coercion to labor, as well as non-fulfillment of employer’s civil liability insurance.

Deputies of local Kengashes, activists of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan and members of the parliamentary faction of the party several times at places carried out appropriate measures to prevent violations of labor protection rules. Studies held at places and the data obtained show that in 2017 and the first half of 2018, 354 criminal cases involving 431 persons were considered for violation of labor protection rules by the courts. Employers committed 37.3 thousand offenses in the field of labor and labor protection, including, in 405 cases, quota-based jobs were not created, in 3.3 thousand cases vacancies were hidden, minors were employed in 112, 89 – committed an administrative compulsion to work, in 355 – compulsory liability insurance is not executed.

Over the past period, despite the preventive measures taken, 13.9 thousand employers violated the procedure for hiring, mandatory certification was carried out only on 67 thousand jobs out of 166 thousand, 763 industrial accidents with fatalities and serious injuries were investigated, 203 organizations violated the procedure for attracting and using foreign labor, as well as 146 foreign citizens violated the procedure for labor activity in the country.

As of July 1, 2018, out of 435.5 thousand organizations, only 29 thousand organizations, or 6 percent, performed compulsory insurance of their civil liability.

In accordance with this, Committee on Labor and Social Affairs of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis carried out control and analytical work on the execution of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Labor Protection”. Last year, relevant events were held in two regions, in 2019 they are conducted in two other regions of the country. On the basis of this, the committee developed proposals for improving legislation in labor relations.

In order to further ensure protection of labor and social rights of citizens, streamlining the process of labor relations, employment and labor protection, in recent years, the Law “On Labor Protection” was adopted in the new edition, resolutions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On additional measures for further improving the system of external labor migration of the Republic Uzbekistan”, “On measures for improving and increasing the efficiency of activities to ensure employment of the population”, as well as “On measures for improving the structure of labor agencies and strengthening the system of protection of labor rights and protection of citizens’ labor”. On the basis of these resolutions, measures have been taken to improve the state of employment of citizens and create new jobs. This year, for the first time, a resolution was adopted by the President of Uzbekistan “On the state order for creating jobs and ensuring employment”.

In pursuance of the above resolutions, it is necessary to further improve some legislative acts in this field. It is necessary to bring them into line with real practice, reflect all the issues of protecting labor relations between employees and employers.

During the discussion of this draft law, deputies had such questions as: how many citizens are currently working without a labor contract? How to protect their rights to work? Just applying fines to their employers? And if they are insignificant? Maybe, to increase responsibility up to criminal responsibility for violation of labor protection rules and knowingly illegal dismissal? Will such a measure solve all existing violations?

The draft law also determines the strengthening of administrative responsibility for violation of legislation on labor and labor protection. The draft law proposes a preliminary increase in fines for such violations to 15 minimum wages (the current fine is from 2 to 5 minimum wages).

For violation of the requirements on inadmissibility of the use of labor of minors in the current legislation, fines range from 2 to 5 minimum wages. It is proposed to increase them from 10 to 25 minimum wages. And for non-compliance with the requirements of the legislation on compulsory insurance of civil liability of the employer, it is envisaged to raise the fine to 25 minimum wages (the current one is from 7 to 10 minimum wages).

The draft law also determines introduction of amendments to the current legislation for evading the obligation to pay benefits for temporary disability, pregnancy and childbirth, violation of the legislation on employment of the population, concealment of vacancies.

In addition, it is proposed to introduce administrative responsibility for violation of the procedure for obtaining admission to work. In this case, it is proposed to raise the fine to 15 minimum wages. For violation of the requirements of the legislation on certification of workplaces for working conditions, it is envisaged to introduce a fine of up to 50 minimum wages. For violation of the requirements for investigation of the causes and accounting accidents at work, as well as the occurrence of occupational diseases, a penalty of up to 50 times the minimum wage is envisaged.

The adoption of this law, in our opinion, will contribute to ensuring labor rights and guarantees of citizens, as well as improving the effectiveness of preventive measures to counter the committing offenses in the field of ensuring employment and labor protection, and at the same time, will create a single system of law enforcement practice when qualifying offenses in this area.

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