April 7, 2017

Kriva Palanka factory is fined for failing to pay wages and employment benefits to its workers

Following a request by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights for a non-scheduled inspection, the State Labor Inspectorate found violations of workers’ rights at the DPČT KADORO OTTO DOOEL, Kriva Palanka. The violation concerns the failure of the employer to make payment of salaries and health care, pension and insurance benefits for the month of January for its employees working in its shoemaking facility in Kriva Palanka. Based on the factual situation after the inspection, the authorized inspector issued an order to the employer and to its officer in charge to rectify such irregularity, i.e. to make payment of the wages and legal benefits to its employees for the period of January 2017, no later than 8 days after the inspection has been completed.

Since the employer failed to make payment of the wages and benefits after the deadline, the Helsinki Committee requested from the State Labor Inspectorate to extend the procedure and to initiate an infringement procedure.

In response to such a request, the State Labor Inspectorate informed the Helsinki Committee that it found the employer to have failed to act upon the order issued to it, in violation of Article 109 of the Law on Employment Relationship. This article states that: “Salaries will be paid in arrears for periods not exceeding one month. The due salary will be paid no later than 15 days after the period which is subject of compensation. If payday is non-working day then the salary will be paid the following working day, at the latest. The employer must inform its employees in writing regarding the payday and each change of the payday.” In accordance with such facts found by the inspection, the inspector in charge imposed a fine for committing an offence to be paid within a period of 8 days. The employer the very next day paid in full such a fine as stated in the mandatory fine order.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights welcomes the positive example demonstrated by the State Labor Inspectorate – Regional Unit Kriva Palanka, acting in harmony with the law and its authority to protect the rights of the workers. However, it must be emphasized that the imposition of a fine to the employer and its compliance in making payment of such fine in no way alters the situation and the employer continues to fail to make payment of any outstanding salaries and employment benefits, and the female workers remain without their recompense and employment benefits for a period of two consecutive months – January and February 2017. The continuing noncompliance on the part of employers in these and similar sorts of industries and failure to meet the responsibilities arising from the laws, employment agreements and collective bargaining agreements relating to such industries, is more than a concern. In order to overcome such situations, the functioning of the workers’ rights safeguards must be unobstructed in order for the female workers in these and similar industries to benefit from the protection of their rights.