State Secretary Dragan Jelić participated in the informal videoconference of the EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers

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On 17 July 2020 State Secretary in the Croatian Ministry of Labour and Pension System Dragan Jelić participated in the informal videoconference of the EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers, launching Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Ministers were invited to discuss the contribution of labour market and social policy to a sustainable recovery from the societal, social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on the contribution of health and safety at work to the recovery. Participants exchanged their views on how to improve health and safety at work in the medium and longterm, which measures have proven particularly relevant and effective during the crisis and what lessons can be learnt from this for the new EU’s Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work.

State Secretary Jelić said that in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, Croatia encouraged working from home where possible and those workers who continued working in their workplaces, such as workers in service activities, were provided with protective equipment, disinfectants, and disinfection of workplaces was carried out regularly. Although we thought that these measures would only be temporary, the fact that the virus is still highly present in our countries further stressed the importance of not only applying the occupational health and safety standards but also of their regular revision and updating. There are completely new requirements we must meet to ensure appropriate working conditions and protection, not only from COVID -19, but also with due consideration of new realities on the labour market and the upcoming shifts in the world of work.

Jelić concluded that investing in safety at work improves people's lives by preventing work related illnesses and accidents, but it also leads to improved productivity and business performance, which are one of the key factors of efficient economic recovery. It is necessary to address adequately all the issues discussed during the conference and incorporate them into the new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work, which will guide us in development and implementation of national strategies.