“The key goal of my team is to make the system more user-friendly. Society is changing fast, and I’m afraid the ministry is adjusting too slowly. Many processes in our life and work are being digitized, connected, simplified and made more user-friendly. This is also my goal: to set up a modern, user-friendly system, ” said ministerial candidate Janez Cigler Kralj at a hearing in front parliamentary Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Committee.
In his presentation to the committee’s members, the ministerial candidate stressed that he firmly believes in social dialogue and that his team wishes to engage in dialogue with all social partners.
We need to bring the system closer to the people
Janez Cigler Kralj said he was grateful for the opportunity to publicly present his work plan for the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. “I want to set clear priorities because there will be little time for action. We need to bring the system closer to the people who use it. We will use modern technology to make life easier for citizens. In the 21st century, it is difficult to understand that when applying for rights to public funds, people do not always know whether they will in fact be granted certain right. Minimizing bureaucracy will be the key task,” said Cigler Kralj.
Legislation is too extensive and incomprehensible
He stressed that the key priorities of his term would be: a more modern and user-friendly social assistance system, care for the elderly and stronger family policy.
“In recent years, Slovenia has recorded record employment and at the same time an illogical number of recipients of financial social assistance. Social policy is not effective enough because it is intertwined with family and other policies. Legislation is too extensive and incomprehensible, and because of this the whole system is completely user-unfriendly. We need to bring the system closer to the people who really need it,” emphasized Cigler Kralj.
He is convinced that wages in Slovenia are overburdened with taxes and contributions, that net wages are too low and therefore it is not worthwhile to work in Slovenia. However, the difference between social benefits and the minimum wage is too small. “It’s not fair that the difference in income between a family of four where parents earn minimum wage and the same family where neither of parents work, is only about 280 EUR. This leads to abuses of the social assistance system that we want to prevent,” he said.
Politics needs to find solutions for better elderly care
Slovenia is ageing, which means higher costs for the pension, health care and long-term care systems. “Politics is therefore obliged to find solutions that will enable these systems to function even in the context of announced and inevitable changes. We will start our work in the field of elderly care with the completion of nursing homes in Vrtojba and Osilnica, which will bring about 650 beds in total, and we have also agreed to build at least five new nursing homes throughout Slovenia. We want to take care of the well-being of the elderly through programs of active ageing, life with dementia and development of a network of day care centres in Slovenia,” emphasized Janez Cigler Kralj.
Free kindergarten for second child and easier teleworking
Janez Cigler Kralj also wants to strengthen family policy. “We will reintroduce free kindergarten for the second and all subsequent children who are enrolled at the same time. We want to provide even better opportunities for reconciling family and professional life. I am thinking in particular of facilitating work from home and introducing care leave,” said the ministerial candidate.
According to him, child allowances should be primarily a measure of family, not social policy. “In this light, we will analyse the current child allowances system and undertake procedures to change it. The child allowances system is not fair as the amounts range from a few euros to over 120 euros per child. That is why we will do everything to change it towards a greater universality,” said Cigler Kralj.