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Zeman appoints Maláčová as new labour and social affairs minister

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Lany, Central Bohemia, July 30 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman appointed Social Democrat (CSSD) Jana Malacova the new Czech labour and social affairs minister on Monday.

Malacova has replaced Petr Krcal (CSSD) who was forced to resign over a plagiarism scandal two weeks ago.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), who inaugurated Malacova in her office on Monday, said she faces big challenges such as the pension reform.

The Senate returned the pension reform bill to the other house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, two weeks ago. The Chamber is to meet in August to pass some version of the pension reform. Babis said a suitable date of a lower house session is discussed, probably close to the end of the month.

Malacova said the government policy statements includes a number of tasks for her.

Among these tasks, she named pay rise in the public sector and an increase in the minimum wage, proposals related to employment policy and family policy.

Malacova supports the call from trade unions for a 10-percent pay rise in the public sector, while Babis and Zeman are against it. The government plans to raise the salaries by 6 percent next year.

Malacova is the second new face in the government since Zeman appointed Babis’s second government a month ago.

One week before Krcal, Justice Minister Tatana Mala (ANO) also had to to step down over an unrelated plagiarism scandal.

Zeman appointed Malacova in the presidential summer residence in Lany in the absence of journalists.

The Presidential Office said a week ago the working room of former President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-1935) was a dignified milieu for the appointment of a government member and for any state event.

Last week, Malacova said she wanted to focus on family policy and population ageing.

She said she would like to push for the points from the government policy statement. The most urgent issue is an amendment on the pension structure, she said. She wants to promote the re-introduction of the sick pay during the first three days of illness and a rise in parental benefits. An amendment to the Labour Code should be prepared as well, she said.

She was the director of department for family and ageing policy at Labour and Social Affairs Ministry (since June 2015). Before, she worked as an analyst of EU funds at Regional Development Ministry (from November 2007 to December 2011) and she headed the institutional communication department at the Government Office (May 2014-June 2015).

Opposition MP Olga Richterova (Pirates) said she believes Malacova’s main tasks were available housing, IT systems and digitisation.

The small opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) said the Labour Ministry should focus on the pension reform, better care for seniors, a more efficient welfare benefit system and socially excluded locations.

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