Employment policy and social guarantee policy

The second structural part of social policy – employment policy – also reflects the hardships, distortions and problems of the transition period. Chief among them is unemployment.

At the same time, employment policy is understood as a system of principles and measures aimed at ensuring and promoting rational, freely elected employment of the population. And employment is considered to be such an activity of citizens that does not contradict the laws of the country, is aimed at satisfying the needs of the individual or society and brings its subject earnings (income).

Employment policy is based on a certain system of principles. In the Republic of Belarus, according to the Employment Act, the following are recognized as such:

ensuring equal employment opportunities for all able-bodied citizens of the Republic of Belarus; ensuring measures aimed at preventing unemployment; provision of social guarantees and compensation to the unemployed; to promote and encourage citizens to develop their capacity for productive and creative work; adoption of measures to assist in the employment of citizens with disabilities; participation of trade unions and unions of entrepreneurs in solving employment problems in cooperation with state bodies; international cooperation in solving employment problems.

Based on the developed principles, the state can use two types of regulatory influence to implement a specific program in the field of employment:

  passive;   active.

Passive employment regulation policies are limited to the search for and use of “therapeutic” or even reassuring means. Such a policy has two main forms of implementation. The first is social insurance in the event of loss of employment, which provides for the payment of unemployment benefits, usually assigned on the basis of previous earnings and the minimum wage. The second is assistance – material assistance applied to the long-term unemployed.

The active type of employment regulation is distinguished by the fact that the state has an impact not on the consequences of what is happening, but on the phenomenon itself – on the state of the labor market. In this case, two main methods of exposure can be used.

The first method is to increase the demand for labor, which is carried out in two main ways: 1) general economic; 2) creation of atypical employment.

General economic measures to increase the demand for labor are:

increasing the freedom of employers to deal with employment issues; preferential taxation where it is necessary to increase the demand for labor; credit benefits to those employers who increase the demand for labor; establishment of employment subsidies for groups of persons with low competitiveness (disabled people, young people).

Measures to create non-traditional employment include:

public works; homework; employment on call, etc.

The second of the methods that make up the active type of employment regulation is represented by measures to reduce the supply of labor in the labor market. These measures are as follows:

expansion of state and support of non-state programs for the training of personnel, both general education and professional. At the same time, the structure of personnel training should be predetermined by the necessary structural restructuring of the economy; training should be conducted at the highest modern level; all subjects of society should have equal opportunities in the training system, only abilities can be allocated; increasing benefits and periods of leave for caring for young children as a means of outflow of labor from the labor market; the introduction of study and sabbatical leave, which helps to reduce the supply of labor today, but ensures its higher productivity tomorrow.

Such and other active policies are supported by the ILO (Convention No. 142).

The next structural part of social policy is the policy of social guarantees, which is understood as a set of principles, forms and methods used by the state to create a minimum of conditions sufficient for the life of members of society.

Social guarantees are a set of socio-economic and legal conditions that ensure the right of members of society in production, distribution, consumption. The main elements of the system of social guarantees are: measures for the formation, support, development and realization of human abilities, measures to regulate the sources and amount of income; ensuring equal access to markets for goods and services; compliance with reasonable standards for the use of social funds.

The main form of establishing social guarantees is the state minimum social standards, which are understood as social norms developed and approved by the state, which determine the minimum level of guaranteed satisfaction of socially significant needs of members of society in material goods and social services.

One of the most important forms of state minimum social standards is the minimum consumer budget – BCH. The minimum consumer budget is the income limit below which simple reproduction and a socially acceptable way of life of a person can no longer be ensured.

The procedure for the formation, as well as the directions of use of the minimum consumer budget are determined by the laws of the state. In the Republic of Belarus, they are regulated by the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On the Formation and Use of the Minimum Consumer Budget”, adopted in 1992.

Minimum consumer budgets are developed specifically for different social groups (pensioners, workers, students, etc.) on average per capita, as well as for an average family consisting of 4 people. Naturally, in the volatile conditions of the transition period, these budgets should be reviewed frequently. In March 2002 prices, the per capita minimum consumer budgets per month in the Republic of Belarus are for:

–        families of four – 119354 rubles;

–        men of working age – 141776 rubles;

–        women of working age – 142208 rubles.

The shares of the main items of consumer expenditure in the BCH of the Republic of Belarus are given in Table. 10.1.

The BCH is used as a fundamental standard in a number of areas, one of which is the establishment of a minimum wage.

The minimum wage is a socio-economic standard that determines the minimum permissible level of money paid by the employer to a simple worker and capable of ensuring the simple reproduction of his labor force.

The establishment of this standard should be based on the following basic methodological principles:

the minimum wage (MWP) is intended for an employee who spends a minimum of labor; The minimum wage should be able to ensure the simple reproduction of a simple worker; The minimum wage is established taking into account the funds of other, socialized payments (income) received by the family; The minimum wage should be revised when changing its objective base – the minimum consumer budget and correspond to it.

Table 10.1.

Shares of the main items of consumer expenditures in the minimum consumer budgets of Belarus (in prices of March 2002), %

Socio-demographic groups of the population


Clothes, underwear, shoes

Objects of cult-life. and khoz. Nasn.

Sanitation, hygiene, medicines

Payment for housing and communes. Services

Bytuslugi, trans-port, communication

Family of four







Man of working age







Woman of working age







Young family with two children







Young family with one child







Family of pensioners







Male pensioner







Retired woman





















An important direction of social policy is labor protection. To date, the country has not created a labor protection management system corresponding to the new economic and labor relations, there are no economic mechanisms that encourage employers to comply with labor protection requirements.

Social guarantees of fundamental human rights in the world of work should play an important role in the diversity of forms of ownership and management. The economy requires, along with targeted support for socially unprotected groups of the population, state guarantees in certain areas and to a certain extent for all or the majority of the country’s population. The norms of labor legislation (admission and dismissal, the duration of the working week, the procedure for granting and the amount of leave, the regulation of labor disputes and conflicts) should apply to all employees, regardless of the form of ownership and management of enterprises and organizations.

Reforms in the labor protection system should be based on increasing the responsibility of employers for improving working conditions and labor protection. A phased transition should be envisaged from a system of benefits and compensation to workers for adverse working conditions to a system conducive to the achievement of a high level of occupational safety. The economic mechanism introduced at the same time will perform two functions: punishing the employer for failure to ensure the normative state of conditions and labor protection and encouraging it with a significant improvement in these indicators.

The system of social guarantees, in addition to the above-mentioned forms, also includes social guarantees of equal access to the state free education system, to the social and cultural benefits of this society, to the markets for goods and services, to means of environmental safety.

The policy based on the implementation of the system of social guarantees should be scientifically based and verified. Social guarantees that have gone beyond certain limits can, on the one hand, reduce or even kill incentives for social, including economic activity, and multiply dependency, and on the other hand, expand the strata of the poor with all the consequences of this.