Number of self-employed workers grows
Yenia Silva Correa
Havana, Cuba June 2, 2011
(Granma International) THE numerous questions, which first arose when the expansion of self-employment was initiated, are starting to dissipate. In less than a year since the initial announcement was made by the country’s leadership, 309,728 people have taken up this form of employment.
The most recent data released by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security indicates that 221,839 new licenses have been awarded during the period from October 2010 through April, 2011 and, by all appearances, the figure will continue to increase.
Access to this alternative is not limited to unemployed or retired persons, although these two groups do make up 68% and 16%, respectively, of the newly self-employed. Workers regularly employed within the state sector have also requested licenses.
Recent measures such as those expanding the ability to contract employees in all of the approved private sector activities, have also had positive results.
As of the end of April, some 38,704 new workers have been hired by new small businesses. Despite the growth, licenses for food service establishments and the provision of transportation continue to be solicited at a brisk pace.
Licenses for the preparation and sale of food are the most requested, 49,349, so far, and 13,982 have been issued for passenger transportation services.
Somewhat more discreet is the growth in other areas such as the production and sale of household items and the sale of CD’s, with 10,187 and 7,600 authorizations awarded respectively.
The provinces which have issued the greatest number of licenses during this period are Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba, giving some idea of the acceptance of self-employment across the country as a whole.
As an employment alternative, this option also offers certain rights and guarantees to those who earn their only source of income through self-employment.
A special Social Security authority exists for such individuals, guaranteeing a pension upon retirement, benefits in the event of death, as well as paid maternity leave.