When will the “Youth Guarantee” system come to life in Serbia?

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Serbia plans to start introducing the “Youth Guarantee” in several regions of the country in the first half of 2024, and the development and adoption of a plan for the implementation of this program should be implemented in the first six months of this year.
The Youth Guarantee, which is implemented in the countries of the European Union, means that young people receive a quality job offer, continuing education, internship or training within a period of four months from entering unemployment or leaving, completing formal education.
Increasing employment, especially of young people, and aligning qualifications with labor market needs has been identified as one of the three key challenges to competitiveness, inclusive growth and related structural reforms in the 2022-2024 Economic Reform Program.
The gradual introduction of the Youth Guarantee program in the regions of Serbia is planned for the first half of 2024, according to a review of planned activities.
In the first half of 2022, the development and adoption of a Guarantee Implementation Plan is planned, for which a high-level multi-ministerial group and an operational group of experts will be established.
In October 2020, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which defined ten investment priorities, including the Youth Guarantee.
Serbia has accepted that it will work on the gradual introduction of the Guarantee, determine the necessary human resources and financial resources, and develop an implementation plan.
Additional tax breaks for new employees
The Economic Reform Program also states that as additional support to the economy in youth employment, from March 2022, tax relief will be available through which the employer, who enters into an employment relationship with a new employee, is exempt from paying 70 percent tax and 100 percent salary contributions of a newly employed person, for the salary paid as of December 31, 2024.
A newly employed person is considered to be a person who was not employed in the period from January 1, 2019 to February 28, 2022, and who earns a monthly gross salary of more than 600 euros.
In 2022, 50 million euros were provided for the implementation of the planned measures of active employment policy, which is an increase compared to 2021 (43.3 million euros).
More than one fifth of the unemployed in Serbia are young people aged 15 to 30. According to the official data of the National Employment Service of Serbia, the number of young people who were unemployed in April 2021 was 115,533, which represents about 21 percent of the total number of unemployed in the country.
The share of young people in the labor force in Serbia is very low according to European standards. The number of young people belonging to the NEET category (young people who are not employed or in the process of education or training) was 18.9 percent in 2019 and decreased by 5.6 percentage points compared to 2015, according to the Employment Strategy of the Republic of Serbia for the period 2021-2026, published by the National Employment Service.
The transition from the school system to the first stable job in Serbia takes a very long time, almost two years. That is much longer than the 5.6 months it takes for a young man or woman to find their first job after finishing school in the EU, Nova Ekonomija reports.