Cut labour costs to boost jobs in Eastern Europe, Central Asia: UNDP

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Making industrial valves in Tekirdag, a town outside Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: World Bank/Simone D. McCourtie

A third of all workers in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Central Asia, or 37 million people, are employed in the informal sector or in "vulnerable" jobs.

That's according to Progress at Risk, a report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which calls for labour taxes to be cut in order to encourage more secure formal employment.

Dianne Penn has the story.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia has historically enjoyed relatively equal income distribution and job security, as well as few gender disparities, according to the report.

However, a drop in commodity prices coupled with slow growth have made it hard for many citizens to find decent work or access basic services like health and education.

As a result, many people – especially women, migrant workers, ethnic minorities and young people – are at risk of falling behind.

The report recommends cutting the region's relatively high labour taxes to stimulate formal employment which would provide better social protection and workers' rights.

Opportunities for women to access education and employment could also be improved by alleviating the burden of unpaid domestic work and being carers.

The report also finds that around US$65 million leaves the region each year due to illicit financial flows as a result of misinvoicing foreign trade transactions.

"By capturing even a small fraction of these funds, governments…could invest huge amounts back into creating jobs, expanding social safety nets and closing the gender gap," it said.

Dianne Penn, United nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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