Cuba publishes new rules for self-employment
HAVANA – The Cuban government has published new rules relating to self-employment in the communist island, which was allowed in 2011 after being frozen for several years and now provides employment to almost 600,000 Cubans.
The regulations, published on Tuesday in the Official Gazette, will enter into force on December 7 and comprise six new regulations, five laws, a decree and 14 complementary resolutions of the ministries involved in their implementation.
According to Resolution number 12 by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MTSS), as a result of the changes there are now 123 types of licences, in contrast to the 201 previously existing.
At a press conference, Marta Feitó, first deputy minister, specified that 96 types of licences were unified into 28, for example, those related to beauty services and the repair of various items.
She said the government will release the granting to new applicants of the 27 types of licences that were frozen since last year, such as those for renting homes, rooms and spaces, food service in restaurants, private contractors and dressmakers or tailors.
However, licensees may only carry out one activity, and in order to obtain permission, they must submit a written description of the desired business and its location, as well as declaring in certain cases the source of financing, among other requirements.
The category of food and beverage producer-seller through restaurants was modified, with the emergence of bar and recreation services, as well as food services in restaurants.
Feitó explained that no more than one of these services will be authorized at the same legal address, and that the categories of baker and transport providers will also be included.
She said that, in future, no licences will be issued for wholesalers and retailers of agricultural products, operators of recreation equipment, purchasers and sellers of records, since in these activities they have detected facts that constitute crimes.
The new regulations will empower a licence holder who has hired workers and needs to be absent due to prolonged illness – of himself or family members in his business – or for leaving the company, the possibility of appointing one of the employees to assume his duties.
Renting homes, rooms and other spaces will now include food service, as well as being able to provide services to legal entities.
According to Feitó, after the regulations come into force, the licensees will have up to 90 days to adjust their business to conform, and before that date they will be trained, as well as the representatives of the agencies involved in this process.
The new regulations will be disseminated in digital format and two million copies of the Official Gazette will be gradually printed and sold in the newsstands throughout the country, although they will be distributed free of charge to the self-employed.
According to the Feitó, the current changes are part of the previously announced process of improvement of this form of employment, aimed at correcting deficiencies and ensuring that private work continues to progress in an orderly manner.
She added that there are measures that respond to request from the self-employed themselves, while others improve the exercise and control of the activity.
Self-employment,” she said, “is recognized in the guiding documents of the current socio-economic transformations, which is why it is the will of the state to continue developing it, especially when it has brought, among other benefits, an increase in the quality of goods and services, in addition to facilitating the process of reordering work.
As of last May, there were 591,456 self-employed people in Cuba, representing 13 percent of those employed in the country.