ECONOMY

Strict monitoring boosts hiring figures

The increase in inspections aimed at rooting out undeclared labor led to a major rise in hirings last month, according to data collected by the Labor Ministry’s Ergani database.

Minister Yiannis Vroutsis announced on Thursday that the number of 63,122 more hirings than departures recorded last month constitutes the highest figure of the last 14 years, “with the majority of hirings coming after September 12, when the new and stricter penalty for undeclared and uninsured labor was announced,” he stated.

Vroustsis added that as of next month, with the combined monitoring of monthly declarations of staff numbers by employers and the employment data they submit to Ergani, any case of hidden information will be punished with a fine of 10,550 euros. “The fine will be imposed on employers who do not include all their employees in the statement they submit every month to the Social Security Foundation, even if they have declared their hiring to the Ergani database,” warned Vroutsis, who expressed optimism about the course of the labor market.

Deputy Labor Minister Vassilis Kegeroglou added that “we still have a long way to go. Society, workers, responsible entrepreneurs and the need for the strengthening of the sustainability of the social security system are forcing us to complete our effort.”

Nevertheless a forecast by the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) painted a much bleaker picture on Thursday as it estimated that the current policy applied in Greece may lead to a jobless rate of 34 percent by 2016. The institute’s researchers further noted that the 27.4 percent rate recorded earlier this year was the highest unemployment level posted in the Western world in the last 30 years. Their alternative proposal foresees a new Marshall Plan for growth, funded by the European Central Bank or another European Union organization.