Supporting people over the age of 50 in the labour market: a clear plan is lacking and the long-term benefits of the projects worth millions of Czech Crowns are questionable

Press Release on audit No 19/23 – 19 October 2020

The Supreme Audit Office focused on how the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) supported people over the age of 50 from the Operational Programme ‘Employment 2014-2020’ in the labour market between the years 2016 and 2018. It allocated around six-and-a-half billion CZK for this kind of aid. The auditors focused on a sample of 12 projects worth CZK 326 million, which provided work for at least 2,236 people over for a period of at least six or twelve months. The actual impact of these projects was not assessed by the Czech state and it was not clear whether the persons supported within these projects found an adequate place in the labour market after the projects were completed. Moreover, the Czech Republic lacks a strategy for addressing the policy that would prepare the state for an ageing population - a policy which is becoming increasingly important.

The aim of allocating these subsidies is to improve the labour market position of persons over the age of 50 who belong to one of the most vulnerable groups. The funds are used, for example, for education, retraining or for creating jobs subsidised for a certain period of time, in which a person should stay after the support ends, or alternatively, the gained work experience should help them find adequate employment. The nature of the projects is such that their effect manifests itself after some time. The audited sample showed that the projects brought benefits and delivered results within their duration, but their actual effect after their completion was not monitored by the MoLSA in order to see whether and how the projects helped people in the long term.

The beneficiaries – often charitable companies or associations that provide jobs – do not have the possibility to find out whether the supported persons found their place in the labour market after the project has ended. The Czech Labour Office as one of the beneficiaries is an exception since it is possible to find out at least whether the person who received support has returned to the register of unemployed persons. For one of the projects examined, one third of the 110 clients returned to the register within 12 months, i.e., 37 persons. In the case of another project, a quarter of the clients returned – 134 out of a total of 531 persons.

The so-called policy for preparing for an ageing population is becoming increasingly important in view of the changes in the age structure of the population. In addition to promoting the employment of older people, it includes, for example, education, health or social issues. The MoLSA put forward a proposal for a possible strategy in August 2019, but no policy strategy was approved by the Government by the end of the audit. At the same time however, the proportion of people aged over 50 in the population is increasing. Between 1993 and 2018, it increased by 43% from around 2.9 million to 4.1 million, and this trend is expected to continue according to the projections of the Czech Statistical Office.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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