BUDAPEST (ILO News) – The aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has created many challenges for Ukrainian workers and companies. Despite the hostilities, enterprises are still functioning and both employers and workers are showing incredible resilience.
But as millions of workers are forced to leave their homes and jobs and thousands of enterprises have to relocate to safer areas, a lot of questions have come up. How does a business start again at a new location? How is an employment relationship affected by martial law? How can people find the strength to work under the stress of conflict?
To help employers and workers tackle these challenges, the Labour Inspectorate of Ukraine (SLS) have launched new services, with the assistance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Project “Towards safe, healthy and declared work in Ukraine”, financed by the European Union.
Mental health has been one of the top priorities of the project. The ILO delivered 10 trainings on first psychosocial aid (FPA) at work for the Labour Inspectorate in April and May, 2022. The trainings continued, even through air raid alerts.
More than 200 labour inspectors from across Ukraine were trained to provide advice to employers and workers on mental health support, as well as on FPA provision in acutely stressful situations at the workplace. They also learnt about referrals to specialized psychological aid, and how to use their knowledge to help themselves, their families and colleagues.
In June, a second series of trainings reached more than 70 representatives of the Secretariat of the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council (NTSEC) and the social partners, including enterprise managers, trade union representatives, and oblast (district) administration officials.
Fighting human trafficking and forced labour
From the onset of the crisis labour inspectors set up information desks at town halls, employment centres, and railway and bus stations, to reach internally displaced people (IDPs) fleeing the fighting. About 300,000 people, mainly women, have been reached by inspectors with advice as how to mitigate the risks of falling victim to human trafficking or forced labour. Posters and booklets developed in cooperation with the ILO project offer advice and contacts for further help.
Practical assistance first
The SLS has shifted from its traditional role as a labour inspectorate to focus on advising and giving practical assistance to workers and employers.
Its online portal www.pratsia.in.ua provides information about employment relationships during the martial law period. The website handles frequently asked questions about employment relationships, and recommendations on occupational safety and health. More than 30,000 people have already received online advice since 1 April, when the portal was launched.
In May, the SLS also launched the Ukraine Works! information campaign to spread the word about the available assistance.
Helping business to relocate
Thousands of enterprises have left combat areas and moved to Ukraine’s safer western regions. The SLS is helping them restart their businesses in their new locations. Labour inspectors – sometimes working remotely – have given advice to employers on amendments to the labour legislation during martial law, how to create safe and healthy working conditions, what documents are necessary for relocating companies, among other things,
The Labour Inspectorate also relies on the support of local authorities, the employment service and tax agencies for help in finding new locations or recruiting and training personnel. More than 3,000 enterprises have benefitted from the SLS support so far.