You are currently viewing Initiative for enabling environment for freelancing in North Macedonia

Initiative for enabling environment for freelancing in North Macedonia

On 27.10.2021 we held the first round table dedicated to “freelancing” in North Macedonia, organized within the RECONOMY program, which discussed the new non-standard forms of “employment”, focusing on the promotion of freelancing through digital platforms, as an opportunity for self-employment and generating additional income.

The round table was attended by representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, representatives of international development organizations, as well as independent experts and freelancers who shared their views and opinions.
Digital work platforms used to provide a variety of services are the result of the latest technological revolution in the labor market. Because they are relatively new, researchers tend to define and measure them, while policymakers face the challenge of how to regulate them. These platforms have a generally positive impact on the economy and contribute to job creation, innovation and provide income for workers (often additional) and access to employment for vulnerable categories of citizens.

According to our research, in North Macedonia, women and young people rarely decide to start freelancing as an option for developing their career or part of it. They are not informed or encouraged about such a step. On the other hand, building interest among these groups to seize opportunities can boost economic growth in our community. Through the project we are working to improve the conditions for freelancing on digital platforms, including mentoring by experienced experts. Although raising awareness of freelancing is crucial for this pilot project, a systemic approach to regulating the status of these individuals is essential for long-term success.

Freelancers are motivated by autonomy, flexibility, the ability to work on innovative advanced technologies and to earn additional or basic earnings.

Among the main challenges for freelancers that were discussed are:

• Inability to exercise labor and social rights (especially for the young female population)
• The absence of any existing legislation that offers both flexibility for employers and security for workers
• Complex administrative procedures for payment of personal income tax when generating income from abroad
• Absence of international sophisticated payment solutions such as paypal, etc.

Competent institutions such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the State Labor Inspectorate, as well as the Macedonian Banking Association often face questions and requests from freelancers who turn to them in an attempt to get an answer to their dilemmas and challenges.

Although there are informal groups of freelancers on social networks, there is still no registered association that will represent their interests. The formation of such an association was just one of most of the recommendations discussed.

Other recommendations included:

  1. Creating an information platform that will contain in one place all the necessary information for existing and future freelancers

2. Mentoring programs for the target groups, highlighting successful examples, trainings for additional training and retraining, new modern legislation tailored to respond to the rapid changes required by the new technological revolutions (changes in the Labor Law and other related laws)

3. Facilitation of the administrative procedures for payment of the tax, etc.

The discussion we had together with all parties involved instills hope that there is a common awareness that will work on this important topic. We believe that this discussion is the starting point for raising awareness, recognizing the challenges and opportunities and creating directions for action.

The RECONOMY program, which organized the roundtable, is a regional inclusive and “green” economic development program established by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and implemented by the Swiss Intercooperation HELVETAS and other Eastern European co-implementing partners. South Caucasus and Western Balkans. The main goal of the program is to enable women, young people and other vulnerable and marginalized groups to take advantage of economic opportunities to increase their income and undertake decent self-employment.

Filip Dzhambazoski

Filip Dzambazoski works as Marketing & Communications Assistant at Impact Foundation. Filip's completed his branch of studies in Law but is passionate about exploring new fields and expanding his knowledge. For him, "Realizing your passion by helping others find theirs" directly correlates to the way we should shape today's leaders into the future decision-makers.