Donila PIPA, PhD
Keywords: social impact, employees, social rights, employer
Now, we live in an epochal period. The historic challenge for leaders is to manage
the crisis as they build the future. Failure could set the world on fire.
COVID-19 is also related to the human dimensions, to social justice but also to the measures taken in the international, European and Albanian aspect, in the social aspect and labour relations.
The International Labor Organization, that is considered one of the oldest organizations, states in the Philadelphia Declaration – in its c point1, that poverty, wherever it exists, poses a danger for everyone. Therefore, any program action and measures taken at the national and international level, especially in the economic and financial sphere should be evaluated from this point of view and accepted only if they are of a nature that helps, not hinders the purpose of social justice.
The International Labor Organization is one of the oldest organizations dealing with social justice established since 1919 with the aim of raising awareness of labor issues and protecting the weaker stakeholders such as the employee in the global relationship world of work.
ILO has three main bodies, defined in Article 2 of the constitution, a plenary decision-making body, an executive body and a permanent body that performs the functions of a secretariat. The International Labour Conference is a plenary, decision-making body, where delegations of states member meet and where Albania is also part of this organization2.
ILO Constitution constitutes one of the most important documents, the founding act and the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944, according to it all human beings have the right to ask for material progress and spiritual development in conditions of economic security and equal opportunities.
Today in the global crisis within the pandemic, COVID-19, this organization, as a specialized institution of the United Nations, analyzes the improvement of working conditions, or universal peace, but also the impact and measures taken to protect workers in this situation3.
In the first half of 2020, the virus took over 400,000 lives and plunged the world into the serious human, economic and social crisis of modern times. The pandemic has also affected the world of work, destroying it, bringing massive human suffering, bringing consequences in the social aspect, undermining sustainability for employees and various enterprises around the world.
The latest ILO estimations found that large-scale job closures worldwide in response to COVID-19 have led to a 10.7 percent reduction in worldwide working hours in the second quarter of this year. This means the loss of 305 million job positions – calculated on the basis of a 48-hour work week.
The Asia-Pacific region was initially most affected, but now it is America, followed by Europe and Central Asia, that reflect the westward movement of the pandemic epicenter across the globe. Its future trajectory remains uncertain. For this reason the International Labor Organization has advocated and many of its member states have implemented the strategy of COVID-19 which consists on 4 pillars, key standards to combat the COVID-19 crisis in terms of international labor4:
The first pillar is related to stimulation of the economy and employment. This is related to an efficient fiscal policy, monetary policy, lending and financial assistance especially in the health sector.
The second pillar relates to support for enterprises, jobs and incomes. This goal is achieved by expanding social protection for all, implementing measures to not close job positions, providing financial and tax relief for enterprises.
The third pillar is related to the protection of employees in the workplace, through measures such as: strengthening occupational safety and health measures, working conditions, from home, telephone, prevention of discrimination and exclusion for employees, ensuring access to health care for all employees or even increasing opportunities to benefit from paid leave related to the status of COVID-19 in the social aspect of work.
The fourth pillar, supporting social dialogue to resolve situations such as: strengthening the capacity and sustainability of employers and employees’ organizations, the state, the ability to govern in this situation, strengthening social and collective dialogue, strengthening institutions and those related to labor relations and the labor process.
In this situation we are in, we are afraid that we will lose our job positions. Sleepless nights, how will we live, how will we cope with this situation, endless sleepless nights, but still no one gave us any answer, not even the psychological, social crisis, where is the world and us?
Maybe this revolution or psychological warfare taught us a lesson: To love life, to spend more time with loved ones, because every day we run after success, money, and many times we have forgotten ourselves and family, love. Let this writing be a message to every family. Only by being together can we cope with every challenge God has given us in this world. Today we must live, with or without COVID-19, as life is given to us by God and we should perhaps pray to become more human, more kind-hearted and move forward together!5
GUARANTEE INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE OF COVID-19
European law and European legislation give importance to the citizens, who in this case are the employee as a subject, in order not to be discriminated or to establish in this way some rules to be applied by member states of the European family, for all its citizens. This also happens in the case of employee protection, or in cases of insolvency of the employer.
We note that based on European legislation, it was initially addressed through Directive 81/987 and after some changes, it was codified with EC Directive 2008/94, which gives importance to the rights of employees even when the employer is not able to pay to the employee.6 EU Directive 2008/94, on the state of insolvency:7
• Defines guarantee institutions which must pay debits from unpaid salaries of employees, thus defining the modalities of organization, financing and operation of guarantee institutions.
• Essential fund of the institution, which should be independent from the capital of employers.
This establishes minimum rules applicable to all Member States to guarantee the salaries of employees even if the employer is insolvent. Protection through the creation of a guarantee also complies with an international obligation, namely the ILO Convention No. 173, adopted in 1992 and supplemented by Recommendation No. 1818.
At the same time the European Union is providing assistance for the COVID-19 situation9 where the European Commission takes measures to support micro and social enterprises under the EASI guarantee instrument which consist in a fund of 400 million EUR.
European Commissioner for Labour and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit said: “Micro-enterprises and socially-owned enterprises, which often employ the most vulnerable part of the society, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Maintaining their survival is essential for local economies and communities across the EU. Today’s measures will provide “much-needed support as part of the EU’s recovery efforts, as we build a more resilient and inclusive Europe.”
Only through solidarity and coordinated solutions in the European aspect this urgent situation that Europe is facing with in the field of public health will be efficiently coordinated.
Solidarity is necessary and a priority, in such crisis, especially to provide the key tools to reduce the risk in relation to the health and the epidemic, help and solidarity to all those people in real need. Only by acting together we can secure products, without shortages, by rationally using protective medical devices in the European Union, in a transparent and direct manner. Measures should be taken not unilaterally but measures that do not impede the free movement of goods in the field of medical assistance. Only together can we succeed!
At the same time the European Commission is preparing a legislative proposal on a European unemployment reinsurance system with the aim of helping Member States’ policies to protect job positions, employment and their competencies.
We also have an initiative for investment in response to the COVID-19 (Corona-virus Response Investment Initiative) that will facilitate the mobilization of the European Social Fund, a fund intended to protect employees and assist with medical assistance.
At the same time, the European Global Adjustment Fund will help employees to work independently, putting into use an amount of 179 million EUR10.
SOCIAL RESTRUCTURING IN THE ALBANIAN ASPECT
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF COVID-19
Albania is a country at the crossroads of fortune and opportunity, which is a candidate country to join the European Union. The Albanian State took some legal measures in the context of the battle against COVID-19 situation.
The Albanian state declared the state of natural disaster, defined in articles 173 and 174 of the Constitution of Albania. In Article 173 of the Constitution, the state of emergency is decided by the Assembly on the proposal of the Council of Ministers in cases where constitutional order and public safety are violated, while in Article 174 of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers may decide, for a period not longer than 30 days, state of natural disaster in a part or in the whole territory of the state. If more time is needed, then the postponement of the state of emergency is done by the Assembly.11
Later the law no. 45/2019, in its article 39 defined the state of natural disaster and the extraordinary measures taken in cases of earthquake or even COVID-19.12
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
The question arises whether the decisions taken by the Albanian government affect human rights since quarantine, limited hours, closure of schools and cultural activities or not?
The question arises whether the decisions taken by the Albanian government to reduce the salaries of parliamentarians / deputies, the salary of the war, the cessation of all school, cultural activities, isolation and the set schedule, the fund for municipal emergencies of 4%, are positive, or even resuming schools and returning students to school premises?
Time will tell, whether this government could emerge victorious from all these battles or not, but one thing is for sure, we all became one, we have a more transparent government, we have a greater cooperation and accountability to the people, while there is still to be done especially to have a welfare state, where the individual is equally respected in the field of providing medical assistance and the importance of the family doctor, where he should be more professional and responsible, or more many telephone lines for the psychological problems that this COVID-19 situation has given us. Today we need to have a welfare state, because no individual can succeed alone without intertwining and cooperating with all actors, the state, institutions, employers, employees, civil society or even unions, etc.
The help should also be commended13 of the European Union for Albania, as the EU is not complete without the Western Balkans.
“We need a Marshall Plan for Europe.”
“The billions to be invested today to avoid a greater catastrophe will bind generations together. The crisis is a chance to renew a sense of community among the nations of Europe.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
I would like to close with the statement of Ursula Von der Leyen, appreciating the fact that the European Union did not forget the Western Balkans and Albania as part of it, because without the help of the EU, with a budget and help for our hospitals we could not do it, thus considering its assistance in the form of a Marshall Plan for this region.
Declaration of Philadelphia https://www.ilo.org/legacy/english/inwork/cb-policy-guide/declarationof Philadelphia1944.pdf
Directive 2008/94 EU https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32008L0094
COVID19 në botë në fushën e punës https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/ documents/meetingdocument/wcms_74793
Law Nr. 45/2019 for Civil Protection https://www.parlament.al/Files/Akte/20190724173027ligj%20nr.% 2045,%20dt.%2018.7.2019.pdf
ILO Constituencyhttps://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:62:0::NO:62:P62_LIST_ENTRIE_ID:24 53907:NO
Constituency of Albanian Republic http://president.al/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/kushtetuta-perditesuar-1.pdf
European Commission for the European economic impact from COVID-19
Si mbrohen punëmarrësit në rastet e paaftësisë paguese nga ana e punëdhënësit?
Jeta duhet jetuar! http://revistapsikologji.com/donila-pipa-jeta-duhet-jetuar/
Sylvie Hennion, Muriel Le Barbier – Le bris, Marion del Sol, E drejta sociale dhe evropiane ndërkombëtare, Papirus, TIRANË, 2012
Purpose: This paper aims to analyze in social terms the impact from COVID-19 and the situation in which we find ourselves today.
Research Methodology: This paper is divided into 3 parts, the first part analyzes the legal basis based on the International Labour Organization, the second part focuses on the directives of the European Union related to the funds and obligations of the employer at the time the company is restructured or goes bankrupt, hence the protection of employees in case of the employer’s insolvency. Third part is focused on the Albanian legal aspect related to the measures taken by the Albanian state in the context of the COVID-19 circumstances.
Results: The welfare state is necessary because no individual can succeed alone without intertwining and cooperating with all actors, the state, institutions, employers, employees, civil society or even unions.
Limitations: This paper is based on references by Albanian and foreign authors and some articles are related to COVID-19, where the author is based to make this paper.
Contribution: This study can be useful for all interested groups. The area where this paper is focused on labor issues in Albania and elsewhere.
In the years 2014-2016 Donila Pipa has been employed in the “Professional Academy of Business”. She held the function of Dean and now is the head of the Department of the Private Law. During the years 2012-2014 she has worked at ”Vitrina University”, and part-time lecturer in the year 2013 at “Fan N. Noli” University in Korca. In the year 2012 has worked as Law Assistant in “Sefgjini Law Office” In 2010-2011 has worked as a Lecturer in “Justiniani I” University. In 2010 has achieved the Grade of Doctor ( PhD) with theme “The European Economic Integration. The Analysis of Regional Groups. The Opportunity of the Albania Aderation in European Union”, in Timisoara, Romania. In the Years 2004-2006 has finished the Master Degree in “International Relation and European Studies”. In 1998- 2003 has finished the studies in the Faculty of Law. The High School has been finished at “Gjuhet e Huaja, Faik Konica” PhD Donila Pipa has a member of ” Vitrina University” Senat, and now is a member of Senat at the Professional Academy of Business”. Has been a member of the scientific magazine “Vitrina” also is part of the International Board of the “Geopolitic Magazine”, in Romania. She has also published many articles in News papers and has participated in various Conference inside and outside the country. She has been also a Speaker in different Panels abroad and around the country. Speaks and own the languages Romanian, Italian and English
3 https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_74 7931.pdf
4 Ibid, pg 3-4
7 Directive 2008/94 EU, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008L0094& from =EN
8 Social and Europian International Right, Sylvie hennion, Muriel Le Barbier – le bris, Marion del Sol, Papirus, Tiranë, 2012
12 Article 39, State of Natural Disaster
13 Monitor.al/be-4-milion-euro-shendetesise-shqiptare-ne-lufte-kunder-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR3w22qahzwLqj TX456jUfrmuTjkHwMxPZdc8vAXIXkb9c4bfFnu7M1H29U