The Macedonian Translators Association (MATA) joins the protest asking to delay the implementation of the latest revisions and amendments to the Law on Mandatory Social Security Contributions and calls for a proper public debate, which was absent prior to passing. As an association representing citizens whose income comes completely or partially from honoraria (or remuneration based on work for hire and author’s contracts), MATA believes that the introduced novelties, in their current form, are unjust and do not protect the members of the translation profession. The Association, in principle, is not against the idea that freelance translators have health and retirement insurance, so it is willing to participate in further debates and contribute its own views to regulating this existentially important issue.
We consider the novelties unjust since they place persons earning income on various bases and in various amounts in unequal positions. We believe that the amendments, formulated thusly, are not in the spirit of solidarity and common social benefit because, among other things, they have been devised without taking thorough consideration of the labour market conditions in the Republic of Macedonia.
For most part-time workers and translators—regardless of whether they work full hours or freelance—supplemental work is not a hobby but a means of survival.
Since most translators are freelance and do not work under full benefits employment contracts, they will not enjoy the key benefits of health and retirement insurance. In fact, they will not have the right to sick or maternity leave and paid vacation days. If they are unable to perform their work, freelance translators will not make any income and will not be able to enjoy the same benefits as full-time employees, even though they have renounced a considerable portion of their earnings in favour of the funds, money that they could have otherwise used for medical treatment or during parental leave.
The lawmakers have clearly not accounted for the fact that in freelance professions, translation included, there is no job security, wages are not earned on a regular basis and they are often insufficient to cover the monthly living expenses. So, such insurance payers are seldom able to pay the social security contributions for months in advance, which means it is reasonable to expect that they will not be able to enjoy any benefits in the months in which they will not make income.
The lawmakers did not leave any room for part-time workers, freelance translators included, to choose to pay into private pension funds and in a manner that allows them to make use of the money in times of trouble. Furthermore, the lawmakers have compelled the translators employed full-time to pay additional health insurance contributions to their additional income without offering them any extra health services in return.
Considering all of the above, the majority of MATA members expressed support for the protest and we believe that they speak on behalf of translators who are still not part of the Association, as well.
Macedonian Translators Association