Affirmative Action Program

Latest activity conected to this program

1. Study trip to USA: “Creating a Diverse Workforce” October 3-11 , 2011

The study visit was part of the project “Affirmative action, reflection of multiculturalism and benefit to the business sector” developed by the Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (SIOFA) in cooperation with the Center for Management of Conflicts, forumZFD and Globar HR™. Following this request the embassy has positively responded to the needs of the partners, and jointly with the Bureau of educational and cultural affairs/International Visitor leadership Program has organized a study trip for five representatives in Macedonia.
The aim of the project was to introduce the three American concepts: Affirmative Action (AA), Equal employment opportunities (EEO), and Diversified Workforce (DW), into the state and non-state systems in Macedonia. By replicating American systems and procedures the implementing partners want to improve the access to the labor market for marginalized groups, thus creating more job opportunities for them in state administration and private companies. Among other measures partner organizations want to set up a legal anti-discriminatory platform at state level, and support measures for introducing affirmative action strategies in private companies. 

If interested in details about theese activity please take a closer look on the Narative report or contact the project manager ah@tcmc.org.mk

 

2.Conference on Promotion of the concept of Workforce Diversity, 10 December 2010

TCMC with support and in cooperation the Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (SIOFA), Forum Civil Peace Service (Forum ZFD) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Globar HR and european Buisness assotiation implemented one day conference on Affirmative action strategies. Dialogue platform for the Government and the Business sector was provided to 30 bigest companies in Macedonia, in order to foster and encourage the need for establishing Affirmative action strategies within the private sector. For details lease see the report on this activity

 

THE CONCEPT PAPER

“Diversified workforce – challenge or opportunity for businesses”

Justification

The Ohrid Framework Agreement OFA and other documents that followed, such as the Draft Strategy for Adequate and Equitable Representation of Non-Majority Communities in the Republic of Macedonia, represent an important framework and political direction that provide for the inclusion of non-majority ethnical, religious, linguistic and cultural communities in public positions. Nevertheless, an adequate and equitable representation - which equally important includes other groups such women, handicapped and homosexual persons - has not yet been achieved in public administration. The same accounts for the private sector, where uniformed working environments can still largely be experienced - with all its obvious negative consequences for the state economy.
The vision and task of the 2001 established Secretariat for the Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement- SIOFA are to contribute towards the effective and complete implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement OFA - the adequate and equitable representation of non-majority communities in the public administration being one of its main elements - and to secure administrative and professional support for the Vice Prime Minister in charge for the implementation of the OFA. Besides its valuable contribution to restore broken faith between people of different communities and to guarantee for stability by promoting a peaceful and harmonious society development, the effective and complete implementation of the OFA is as well an important requirement for the successful completion of the country's further integration in Euro-Atlantic structures.
A needs assessment conducted by the SIOFA in October 2008 identified the designing of an affirmative action strategy as one of its priorities. However, this is not as easy as it seems and its success requires expertise - as it can be found in respective departments of European state administrations as well as in big multinational companies. Most of them dispose of long lasting relevant knowledge and experience and have written strategies and rulebooks. Thus, the underlying purpose of this project is to identify these countries and businesses and to engage with them in a transfer of knowledge and experience (sharing best practices) in order to enhance the capacity of the SIOFA in drafting and applying its affirmative action strategy. This will then - at a later stage - enable the Secretariat to provide affirmative action policy advice and recommendations to central and local (municipal) public administration as well as to private business.
Marking the international day of Human rights on 10.12.2010, SIOFA and Its local partners the Training Center for Management of Conflicts, Forum ZFD, Global HR and the European Business association launched the project with the first affirmative action conference in Macedonia. The concepts of Affirmative action (AA), Equal employment opportunities (EEO), and Diversified workforce (DWF) were presented to state and non-state institutions. All forty biggest and most successful companies showed high interest on these new concepts.
SIOFA is convinced that by encouraging private companies to take active measures for improving the access of marginalized groups in to the private sector, the burden and responsibility for equitable representation, will be reduced. 

Main Objective

Raising awareness of the private sector on the importance of diversity within workforce, and improving access of the marginalized groups in the production processes, as precondition for better position of the private companies at the national and global market/s.  

Other project objectives:

  • Contributing to the SIOFA capacity building in the area of affirmative action through the sharing of relevant technical and strategic information from respective affirmative action units in European public administration departments as well as from human resource departments of multinational companies;
  • Setting up a sustainable legal system for application of the concepts of AA, EEO and DWF by establishment of Macedonian Association for Affirmative Action – MAAA, institution that will be independent but also closely linked to Government and Business companies;
  • Decreasing fears and hostility towards affirmative action measures by realizing that they are not specific to the Republic of Macedonia but have been applied successfully in several countries over a long period of time;
  • Improvement of legislation that is connected to affirmative action’s;

Beneficiaries

Marginalized groups (Ethnic, religious, gender, social minority groups), that do not have proper access at the state and non-state institutions as well as in the production process

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • Government of Macedonia (Secretariat for the Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement - SIOFA, ministries and public companies, central and local public administration)
  •  Private companies that will accept and work on the concepts of Affirmative action and Equal Employment opportunities   
  • Civil societies and associations that will use all its resources to promote this new concepts in grass roots level; 

Activities

Proposed project is divides in several interrelated activities. All activities are designed to be sustainable after project life-time. The MAAA will be legacy of the project, and will act as an independent body for communication of Affirmative Actions, Equal employment opportunities and diversity issues in the country with all relevant stakeholders.

Activity 1
Capacity building for SIOFA and Local implementers of the project

A.1.1  Training / coaching: Conducting a seminar for SIOFA staff and preparing a policy paper and an action plan based on the knowledge transfer and best practice sharing from the official visits and the conference in Skopje. An external consultant - as well present at the conference - will facilitate the seminar and be actively involved in the drafting process of the policy paper. 

A 1.2.  Distributing and promoting the policy paper. Organizing of a press conference for journalists in order to explain the objectives of the project (a press conference could as well be held before the conference).

A 1.3. Study visits in European institutions and companies that already practice the concepts of Affirmative action

Activity 2
Promotion of AA and EEO to private companies

A 2.1. Organizing official visits of SIOFA staff to the identified states that dispose of affirmative action units as well as to the respective private companies. The main goal is to establish a first contact, to learn about affirmative action measures and existing written strategies/rulebooks. Representatives of relevant departments and companies will be invited to a conference in Skopje to share their experience. The visit will be implemented by dividing the staff of SIOFA into five groups of two people. Every visit will last two days.

A 2.2. Production of brochure for AA,
The brochure with the most important explanations and experiences on Affirmative action will be produced. This brochure will be distributed to most of the private companies in Macedonia in order to motivate, make them understand and accept the benefits from Affirmative action measures. 

A 2.3. Campaign
In order to motivate companies, make them understand and accept the benefits from Affirmative action measures a small campaign will be designed. The campaign will cover activities related to media presence another visibility techniques.   

 

Activity 3
Organizing an International Conference on Affirmative Action

with the participation of relevant foreign state representatives and relevant personnel of big multilateral companies. They will have the task to discuss their successes, challenges, main activities, experiences and possibly on recommendations for the Republic of Macedonia. 

Activity 4. 
Establishment of the Macedonian Association for Affirmative Action - MAAA

, which will be the association of professionals managing affirmative action, equal opportunity, diversity and other human resource programs. Independent non-profit body will work as liaison with national ministries and local agencies involved with equal opportunity compliance in employment and education.

  • MAAA get accredited to take care on implementation of antidiscrimination principles within the business sector. They should be the main service providers of the antidiscrimination commission. Make sure that the companies follow the antidiscrimination laws by incorporating affirmative action measures;
  • MAAA will be stately accredited organization that will issue Affirmative action certificates to Human resources managers that are part of companies with revenue of more than 100.000 Euro. (working matter of the law on antidiscrimination)
  • MAAA will constantly conduct trainings on opportunities from diversified workforce.

A.4.1 Forming a pool of trainers that will be trained to disseminate the knowledge on the concepts of Affirmative Action, Equal employment opportunities and Diversified workforce;   

A.4.2 conducting at least 30 Affirmative action Trainings for state and non-state institutions in period of 3 years

A 4.3 Mentoring Human resources departments of the big companies to design a Affirmative action strategy for at least 30 biggest companies in Macedonia that have yearly turn-over more than 100.000 Euro

A 4.4. Office related activities

Activity 5
Changes in the legal system

The most affected laws by the affirmative action measures are the labor law and law on antidiscrimination. Up to in the labor law there is not something specifically mentions that is related to the affirmative action. The Law on antidiscrimination from one side makes a good attempt to define the affirmative action from the other side it also tries to specifically numerate the marginalized groups. With regard to the law on antidiscrimination there has been a lot of discussion in relation to inclusion of the sexual minorities within the numeration of the marginalized groups.
The concept of affirmative action affects many other laws that have to do with the labor force. 

SIOFA is interested in setting up a legal framework that will cover all the aspects of the Equal employment opportunities in all sectors of democratic society: Government, Business and Civil society. By doing so they expect the burden of the equitable representation in public administration to be released from the government. This is more of a lobbing and advocacy activity that aims to place this concepts within the state system.

Time  frame

The duration of this project is three years starting from 01 June 2011 up to 31 June 2014. After this period the project through the Macedonian association for affirmative action should be ready to continue and work as independent organization.

Geographical coverage of the project
This will be a national wide project with aim to export the concepts to the region of Balkans.

 

Project management

The project will be leaded jointly by SIOFA and Training Centre for the Management of Conflicts TCMC in partnership with Global HR and European Business association.  SIOFA will mostly monitor and support the implementation of the project, whereby the TCMC will be the main responsible organization for management issues that are concerned to implementation of the activities as well as focusing on monitoring plans and ensuring alignment with project overall objective and goals.

A special Steering committee of the Project will be composed by representatives of:
Chamber of Commerce, Union of Chambers of Commerce, North-West Chamber of Commerce, Craft Chamber of Macedonia and other relevant business associations and chambers like the European Business Association - EBA, AmCham, MABA – Macedonian Austrian Business Association, BBG – British Business Group,  Dutch Chamber of Commerce, ZELS – Union of Local-self Government Units, Macedonian HR Association, Association of Lawyers, Macedonian Association of Career Counselors, Public Institutions like Employment Services Agency,  …

The SIOFA has ensured its full administrative support to the project. A respective focal point has been appointed by the Vice Prime Minister responsible for the implementation of the OFA.

 

 

Prepared by: TCMC