Helped protect employment and the viability of firms

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Martina ŠIRHALOVÁ
Federation of Employers' Associations of the Slovak Republic (AZZZ SR)

Over the past few weeks I have been through more than I might have wished. I still have very mixed feelings and countless aspects of COVID-19 keep jostling for position in my mind, which is perhaps perfectly natural given the circumstances. On 15 March, Slovakia declared a state of emergency. That is when I realised for certain that things were not going to be so simple. Measures were taken and we had to get on board with them. On the one hand we were all frightened of the disease, on the other we were aware that some employers would not be able to cope with this situation and jobs would be lost as a result. This was one of the many problems we tackled at work. And we worked more than usual. Employers needed help in a number of areas. It was as if we were divided into those who were inundated with work and those who would have loved to work but were unable to. From the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our association pointed out the need for swift measures to help employers and entrepreneurs that would cushion the economic fallout of coronavirus. From the beginning, we were actively involved in commenting on the proposals put forward and we have also come up with a lot of our own. We are trying to promote and support those proposals that seek to protect employment and the viability of firms. Our shared goal has to be keeping as many jobs as possible – all the more so because the threat of mass redundancies has never been so great and so real. We consider it imperative that Slovakia have in place a highly effective social dialogue, backed at national level by the tripartite configuration of workers, employers and government. Maintaining social harmony should be the goal of any government, and we believe that particularly in this difficult period it is very important to pursue a responsible and balanced policy towards employees and employers not only in every country but also at European level.