Cuba is letting workers hold multiple government jobs for the first time under an overhaul of the island's labor system.
A note published in state media Monday and Tuesday says the permission was granted under a decree passed by the island's governing councils of state and ministers headed by President Raul Castro. The decree itself has not been published.
The measure seems aimed at filling necessary positions in a shrinking work force, and giving Cubans the chance to increase their income in a country where the average monthly salary is about $20.
It also seems designed to prevent Cubans from engaging in non-sanctioned activities to earn money _ a common practice here.
Although most Cubans do not pay for housing and receive free health care and education and highly subsidized utilities, transportation and basic food basket, they complain the government salaries do not provide enough for many essential items.
Many Cubans already engage in various illegal jobs to make ends meet, such as the sale of goods stolen from government workplaces and warehouses, or providing unlicensed services.
The official note says that the decision to let Cubans hold multiple jobs is tied in part "to the effects of an aging population" and designed to "stimulate work throughout society, as well as the possibility that workers can increase their income."
It adds that the decree will allow Cubans to obtain labor rights and retirement benefits only with jobs that are "legally established."