HAZAL ATEŞ – Sabah
The government plans to roll out a series of new programs and improve existing social policies in 2020. The programs will aim to boost services for disadvantaged communities and increase women’s employment.
New steps will be a concrete contribution to the pockets of everyone, from housewives to students, from the disabled to senior citizens. Next year, 255,000 young citizens will benefit from on-the-job training programs while 228,000 women will benefit from active workforce services.
For the first time, the government will implement a project worth 5 million euros ($5.53 million) for women’s cooperatives, TL 1.4 billion will be spent as loans for students and young people for employment opportunities while 325,000 disadvantaged students will receive direct cash assistance. Other projects will create employment opportunities for 450,000 people as well.
The government has already reached out to 3.5 million households with low income thanks to more than 40 social aid programs, by the end of 2019 social aid expenses will reach TL 55 billion.
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services will oversee social policies that primarily aim to diversify programs to boost employment and rights of disadvantaged communities.
Women’s employment remains a major issue for Turkey, like elsewhere in the world, Turkey still lags behind in the participation of more women in the workforce. Women’s cooperatives, that allow women to join their forces for self-employment, may help boost this. The government, with a project supported by EU funds, will launch a cooperative program for the first time.
The ministry will also launch vocational training programs for women in guesthouses or shelters for women domestic violence victims. With EU funds, a total of 20,000 women will receive incentives to “stay” in employment.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has increased loans and incentives for female entrepreneurs in recent years to help boost their participation in the male-dominated workforce. It rolled out a series of incentives for working women, from longer maternity leaves to financial support for daycare needs, as well as payments to grandparents caring for their grandchildren with working parents. As for female entrepreneurs, the government already provides up to TL 50,000 in loans and plans to extend them to more women willing to set up their own businesses.
Employment of the youth is another priority. Some 100,000 young citizens will benefit from vocational training programs to help them get jobs.
The government will also expand its “family consultation” and “divorce process consultation” services. Official figures show that the number of marriages decreased by 2.9% in 2018. Divorces, meanwhile, increased by 10.9%. The government tries to promote marriages, or rather, having children, by offering incentives to couples with children.
Another concern for the government is an aging population. The proportion of senior citizens or those at the age of 65 and above increased 16% in the last five years and was more than 7.1 million last year. Now, they make up 8.8% of the total population and more than half of the elderly are women, TurkStat figures revealed. A new social policy to support active aging and to empower senior citizens’ rights will be unveiled next year while support programs for the elderly will expand.
With an EU financial assistance program, the government will provide incentives for 450,000 people to join social and economic life. Twelve different programs will be launched for students, with loan support worth TL 1.4 billion loans for their employment. A social inclusion program will provide financial aid to 325,000 disadvantaged students.
As part of a program to increase employment for the disabled, 300 disabled citizens will benefit from loans to set up their own businesses. The number of daycare centers for the disabled will be increased from the current 68 centers and an action plan for the disabled will be rolled out in 2020.