Social welfare legislation in Azerbaijan began to form in the XX century, as preliminary acts in this field, the so-called laws “About the responsibility of employers for accidents in industry” in 1903 and “About the workers’ insurance against the accidents and diseases” in 1912 were passed.
Despite the laws “About the workers’ insurance at the time of diseases”, “About the foundation of administration and department for the workers’ insurance problems”, “About the workers’ insurance against the accidents” and other laws regulating insurance relations in Russian empire at the beginning of the XX century were passed, the intense public and political events in the country hadn’t let the application of these laws.
As general political requirement, the application of 8-hour work day after the revolution was in the first place in workers’ movement. Information “About the application of 8-hour work day in Baku” consisting of 6 items was spread by Baku Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on agreement with industry owners and directorate of enterprises. And a task consisting of 5 items and considering the application of 8-hour work day for the workers, regulation of the salary in the same level with expensiveness, implementation of all measures of social-legal nature to provide normal living for the working class was passed on September 12, 1917 in the Conference of Baku organization of Russian Social-Democratic (Bolsheviks) Party.
After the October revolution, Transcaucasian Commissariat was established in Tbilisi on November 11, 1917 with the participation of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. The purpose was to put an end to Russian regime in Southern Caucasus and to govern the region. The Chairman of this government consisting of 11 ministers was Georgian Menshevik E.P.Gegechkorin. He was also ruling the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Affairs. This government gave its place to newly established Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic after 6 months. The government existed 35 days in total could formalize its activity on paper like its previous predecessor.
Labour’s Commissariat of Baku province was organized by March 22, 1918 dated decision of Baku Council of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Seamen’s Deputies. Yakov Zevin was appointed a commissar. Later, in Baku Council of People’s Commissariat substituting Baku Council, the Peoples’s Labour Commissar was again appointed Yakov Zevin. Council of People’s Commissars together with nationalizing more than 200 private oil fields, 299 industrial enterprises, executed a number of social measures regarding defense of the workers’ rights and employees, organization of protection of employees’ labour, etc. till July 31, during its 3-month activity.
Autonomy Declaration was declared in Tbilisi by establishing the first democratic republic in the East – Democratic Azerbaijan Republic on March 28, 1918 and the first temporary Government’s Cabinet was organized. The position of Minister of Agriculture and Labour at the first Government’s Cabinet was conferred to Akbar aga Sheykhulislam elected a member to National Council from “Hummat” party.
The main direction of social policy of the Government of Democratic Azerbaijan Republic is to increase the share of consumption fund in common domestic products, increase the consumption fund for every individual of population, the national income in common domestic products and employment level, improve labour conditions, increase the level of education, health, housing and communal service supply. During the activity of Democratic Azerbaijan Republic 315 law projects concerning various fields were submitted to the discussion of the parliament. 10 of them concerned social sphere.
Two primary decisions were taken on pension issues. One of them was the August 28, 1918 dated decision “About the establishment of commission for making law project on pension”. The decision contained defining pension to retired persons according to the serving years. During the activity of the Democratic Republic Labour Exchange was functioning in Baku. Baku Labour Exchange was created on January 13, 1918 in Baku city Duma.
The third coalition government consisting of 14 people was established on December 26, 1918.
Taking into account the hard working regime and social state of workers, the third government conducted a number of measures concerning the increase of salaries, doles, formalizing labour relations, etc. By the January 21, 1919 dated decision of the Parliament the Ministry of Labour was established in the Government of Democratic Republic in order to regulate the labour relations and other issues regarding this. The Ministry of Labour getting the executive and supervisory power held special conference on January 25, 1919 in order to improve protection of workers’ labour and living conditions. A decision was taken on creation of special commission consisting of 19 people, including workers and enterprise owners, in condition to represent the parts equally in the conference. The Ministry took decision on making some changes in the conditions of the collective contract on January 26.
The activity of the Government was directed to building workers’ legislation, regulating relations between theworkers and the owners, improving the labour protection and financial state of labourists . During the activity of the third Government concrete decisions were taken to improve the social state of the workers and employees.
The fourth Government’s Cabinet of Democratic Republic Government consisting of 14 Ministers was organized under the leadership of Nasib bay Yusifbayli on April 14, 1919 and Aslan bay Safikurdski was appointed the Minister of Justice and Labour. Increasing the doles and salaries in respect to inflation was an important direction of the Government’s social policy. And on this purpose the Parliament adopted the Regulation on post-guarantee of persons served in railways under the line of the Ministry of Railways, also laws on increasing salaries of government employees and teachers of primary schools, increasing living wage. During the fourth Government’s activity a number laws and decisions concerning the solution of the problems of refugees were adopted.
On August 5, 1919 the Labour Inspectorate was established under the Ministry of Labour to regulate labour protection, salary rates and labour disputes. By establishment of new inspectorate, control on labour protection centered in one administration and its control scope covered all the territory of the Republic. There were regional inspectors in each of 8 regions of the country. During the activity till the April occupation, 922 appeals of 1537 were solved in favour of workers, 145 of them were rejected, 14 of them were sent to the court, and 456 of them were remained unresolved. In December 7, 1918 dated decision “About the worker problem” of ADR Parliament there was determined to issue insurance to the workers while losing their ability to work fully or partially.
The second decision on pension problems was the decision “About the establishment of commission on preparing pension regulation” adopted on August 27, 1919 during the activity of the government of Democratic Azerbaijan Republic.
In the last, fifth Government organized on December 22, 1919 and consisting of 12 people the Ministry of Agriculture and Labour has been ruled by Ahmad bay Pepinov. That Government has prepared a program concerning the worker problem and spread information regarding this. The program contained the issues like the supply of woman and child labour protection, inadmissibility of interfering of directorate in activities of the counterparts, ceasing the attacks to worker organizations, freedom of meeting and increasing the salaries.
During the activity of the fifth Government decisions were taken considering social privileges, such as discount use of communal services and traffic for those people in need, increasing the salaries and disinterested financial aid to the refugees. XI Red Army, violating legal norms, brought its armed forces into Azerbaijan on April 27, 1920 and put an end to state independence of Azerbaijan. On April 28, 1920 the Temporary Revolutionary Committee confirmed the staff of new government - Azerbaijan SSR Council of People’s Commissars. Aliheydar Garayev became the People’s Commissar for Labour and Justice in this staff.
After the Soviet Government was established in Azerbaijan, Council of People’s Commissars founded Labour Protection Inspectorate under the People’s Commissariat for Labour to make efficient use of labour force, to place the workers due to their specialities, to protect the life, health and labour of the employees. The duty of this organization was to take necessary measures regarding the protection of toilers’ labour and their interest. 150 commissions were created for labour protection in oil industry enterprises in 1920.
After the establishment of the Soviet Government, a number of decisions were taken regarding the social welfare of the workers and toilers. November 15, 1921 dated decree “about the social insurance of persons occupied with hired labour” concerned all persons occupied with hired labour and all cases in temporary or full loss of working ability, unemployment, as well as, deaths. With December 9, 1921 dated decrees “About the social welfare of labourists’ families for the loss of head of family” and “About the social welfare for temporary loss of working ability and maternity” the pension supply was solved in respect to the loss of head of family. Besides, the December 8, 1921 dated “About the social welfare of the disabled”, December 19, 1921 dated “About the insurance of disease” and December 28, 1921 dated “About the social welfare for unemployment” decrees were adopted.
“Code of laws about labour” was adopted in the 4th session, 9th summon of Central Executive Committee of Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on October 30, 1922. This Code was legal base in regulating the labour issues by December 30, 1922 dated decision “About making effective the code of laws on labour” of Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan SSR. The code was in effect till 1971, that is, the adoption of Code of Labour Laws of Azerbaijan SSR.
On April 19, 1924 People’s Commissariat for Health and People’s Commissariat for Labour of RSFSR gave Order “About provision measures of the insured people with prosthetics and orthotics equipment”. By this Order the provision of labour invalids getting social insurance pension and their families with free prosthetics and orthotics equipment started.
As 1922-27 was mainly the period of restoration of national economy, establishment of village soviets in the areas and socialism building period in Azerbaijan, the activity of Commissariat of Public Welfare was restored and M.Hajiyev was appointed a commissar.
This Commissariat was implementing the jobs, such as improving public welfare system, privileging invalid and working citizens. Owing to the implemented work, “Invalids Corporation” has been created in Baku on August 1927 for engaging in problems of the disabled, and hundreds of invalids were provided with job on various specialties in 25 artels included in Commissariat of Public Welfare system.
Fixing and increasing pensions and doles in Soviet period was being implemented within the framework of all-Union legislation, that is, by the laws and decisions taken by USSR of Central Executive Committee and USSR Council of People’s Commissars. In order to control the pension provision system in the Republic, by ceasing the fix of all kinds of pensions in trade unions of railways, sea transport and river transport workers in Azerbaijan Council of Trade Union by the May 9, 1937 dated № 2891 decision “About fixing the pensions on state public welfare” of Azerbaijan SSR Council of People’s Commissars, the authority to execute this work was granted to People’s Commissariat for Public Welfare.
According to the August 19, 1937 dated № 3793 decision, suitable to Constitution of Azerbaijan SSR (article 100) public welfare departments were created in district soviets of Baku beginning from September 1, 1939. By the October 25, 1958 dated decision of Azerbaijan SSR Cabinet of Ministers, monthly state aid to mothers of many children and single mothers began to be granted from January 1, 1960. Also, new kinds of doles began to be applied in soviet pension system in the same year.
As a result of efficient use of labour resources and thorough, complex development of republic economy, especially increase of financial welfare of the population, hundreds of works, factories, industrial fields were created, 213 industrial enterprises were activated in the Republic, at the same time, export of 350 kinds of products to 65 countries of the world started. If the salaries of workers and employees were 109.6 rubles in 1958-70, it reached 234 rubles in 1985.
Financial aid to the old, disabled, those who has temporarily lost their ability to work, labour and war veterans, families losing the head of the family and single mothers was increased. If the number of people getting pension from state for senility and invalidity was 643 thousand in 1970, this figure grew to 987 thousand in 1989, and the number of employed people increased from 1.273 thousand to 2.361 thousand.
Important measures were executed on the field of protection of population health. The number of institutions rendering ambulatory-polyclinic aid increased from 1075 to 1826, the number of maternity welfare centres, children's clinics and polyclinics increased from 313 to 1034, and the number of doctors increased from 13 thousand to 27.5 thousand. First medical aid service was organized in 2239 settlement areas. Code of Labour Laws of Azerbaijan SSR was adopted on December 10, 1971.
Constitution Act “About State Sovereignty of Azerbaijan Republic” was adopted on October 8, 1991 and Azerbaijan gained its freedom for the second time. After restoring its state sovereignty, reorganization of state establishments of the republic began.
Ministry of Labour and People’s Social Defence of Azerbaijan Republic was created by abolishing the Ministry of Social Welfare of Azerbaijan Republic and State Committee for Labour and Social Problems of Azerbaijan Republic by December 10, 1992 dated decree of the President.
But serious social-economic and political tension was prevailing in the country during first years of the state sovereignty. Representation of politically inexperienced people, people not having any abilities and skills in the sphere of state management, casual people in Republic management caused heavy crisis in a short time in political government.
Political chaos and intrigues, confrontations substituting each other, led to serious social-economic decay and appearance and increase of anarchy tendencies in the life of the society. This inconstant socio-political condition caused the appearance of separate claims, threatening pressures of separate Black-Hundred armed forces against the government on one hand, and capture of country territories by Armenian armed groups one after another on other hand. Normal activity of any state structure, also the Ministry of Labour and People’s Social Defence was impossible in a very difficult situation like this, in the condition of paralyzed state of state management mechanism.
In the period when the danger of loss of state sovereignty and disintegration of the country reached the last point – in June of 1993 Azerbaijan people made their wise choice and called the world-famed political figure, great leader Heydar Aliyev to lead the country, who had made the country leading among soviet republics saving Azerbaijan from lagging, inertness.
Azerbaijan began to develop and make progress getting out of the most severe tests in the light of wise political course of great leader Heydar Aliyev who came back to lead the republic as a response to the call of his people in a difficult period. Just the great leader’s continuing attention and care to social field made positive changes in social defence system by causing formation and improvement of social policy of Azerbaijan state. This stipulated the appearance of serious change in activity of the Ministry of Labour and People’s Social Defence, execution of purposeful measures in direction of labour and people’s social defense.
As a result of attention and care of the great leader to poor citizens, successful measures in improving housing conditions of invalids’ and martyrs’ families, building medical-social rehabilitation system of invalids in the level meeting modern requirements, provision of invalids with cars, wheelchairs and other means of rehabilitation, increasing pensions and doles, strengthening the employment of the population and in other directions started to be realized.
Successful continuation of wise political course of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev by respectable President Mr. Ilham Aliyev opened new progress phase in the country.
As a result of the president’s rationally devised, purposeful policy, Azerbaijan became leader country for its progress dynamics. At the same time, important successes were achieved in the direction of strengthening social protection of the population, increasing state care to poor population group.
Today the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan continues its activity as a government structure contributing to high-leveled execution of social policy strengthening year by year, improvement of welfare state of country population and as a government structure gained the trust and confidence of the society for this reason.