The State’s duty to protect human rights
Principle 2 [page 10]
States should set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction respect human rights throughout their operations.
The commitment to respecting and protecting human rights is built into Slovenia’s foundations. The Constitution stipulates citizen, political, social, and economic rights, as well as the rights to a healthy living environment and to drinking water. Article 74 of the Constitution states that commercial activities may not be pursued in a manner contrary to the public interest. In accordance with the constitutional right to a healthy living environment, the conditions and manner in which economic and other activities are pursued are established by law (Constitution, Article 72).
Specific expectations concerning human rights protection in business are defined in the relevant legislation governing employment relationships, health protection, environmental protection, and prohibition of discrimination in the workplace.
Principle 3a [page 14]
- a) Enforce laws that are aimed at, or have the effect of, requiring business enterprises to respect human rights, and periodically to assess the adequacy of such laws and address any gaps.
Health and safety at work: Slovenian legislation governing health and safety at work is part of EU law and follows the conventions of the International Labour Organisation. The legislation has already been upgraded with employers’ obligation to plan and implement workplace health promotion. The workplace health promotion programmes in Slovenia are complemented with measures to ensure the health and safety of workers and other persons involved in the work process.
In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act,30 the employer is obliged to ensure health and safety at work, draft and adopt a written safety statement with a risk assessment, adopt measures to prevent, eliminate and address cases of violence, mobbing, harassment and other forms of psychosocial risk at work, to plan and implement workplace health promotion, and plan workplace health promotion in a safety statement with a risk assessment. The Health and Safety at Work Act envisages sanctions for employers violating obligations under the law. In March 2015, the Ministry of Health adopted the Workplace Health Promotion Guidelines,31 which set out the basic principles for planning and implementing workplace health promotion. All employers have to adapt these basic principles to their own organisation and circumstances.
Health and safety at work: In compliance with the Resolution on the National Health Care Plan 2016-2025 ‘Together for a Healthy Society’37 and to guarantee a safe and positive working environment, the Ministry of Health is planning to evaluate the current implementation of occupational, transport and sport medicine, and its funding and placement in the health-care system. On this basis, the Ministry will introduce relevant adaptations, including an occupational diseases surveillance system. The Ministry will set up a mechanism for exchanging good practices and experience in workplace health promotion. Special attention will be devoted to the revised regulation of the field of occupational diseases.
In the next decade, the Ministry of Health will provide expert support for health promotion in schools, the working environment and local communities. It will raise awareness of the importance of health and a healthy lifestyle, empowering individuals and all key institutions that could help improve the health of the population and reduce inequalities in health through their activities. The Ministry will ensure the evaluation of health promotion programmes carried out in these environments, particularly those implemented by NGOs. Particular attention will be devoted to capacity building for work with vulnerable groups and to enhancing partnerships with local communities, NGOs, work organisations, education institutions and social security structures.
The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has drafted the Resolution on the National Programme of Health and Safety at Work 2018-202738 to create and maintain a working environment which will preserve workers’ health throughout the entire period of their employment, so that they will be able to work longer, and the work performed will be to their personal satisfaction.
The Ministry will continue its awareness-raising efforts for both employers and employees on health and safety at work by organising seminars and workshops, and through other relevant activities. As part of the project Eliminating Workplace Conflicts (Raising awareness of the possibility of mediation in disputes between employees and employers and consulting for employers), the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia will undertake awareness-raising activities and provide training (particularly) for employers on obligations and responsibilities concerning the provision of health and safety at work by means of workshops, lectures, conferences and seminars organised throughout Slovenia. The project is aimed at raising employers’ awareness of their obligations concerning the provision of health and safety at work, and of their duty to prevent conflicts in the working environment that result from inadequate practices and their negative effects on workers’ health.