Bills on Roma children rejected
Ljubljana, 5 October - MPs have rejected or severely watered down a package of bills tabled by almost a dozen mayors in an effort to improve the integration of the Roma by incentivising Roma children to go to school and adults to find work.
Of the three bills submitted, only one, an amendment to the labour market act, was confirmed by the Labour Committee in first reading on Wednesday and even that was substantively rejected with amendments that watered down the original proposal.
The confirmed bill would have simplified the erasure of individuals from the register of unemployed persons and extended the maximum time individuals can be included in public works programmes.
Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič said that the Roma were not interested in getting jobs because as long as they were on welfare, they did not have to pay any fines.
The longer duration of public works would incentivise them to enter the labour market, he said.
The government disagreed with the proponents and claimed the proposed solutions would not have achieved their aim. It also argued they would encroach on the constitutional right to freedom of labour.
Amendments that would have made welfare conditional on children going to school, and amendments that would result in child benefits being paid in kind if children are not in school were rejected outright.