European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Slovakia

14 December 2017

Slovakia: Social package becomes concrete

The ruling Slovakian coalition have promised to come up with a series of social packages, including a reform of the Labour Code. The new measures aim to introduce better remuneration for workers. Employers have criticised the increase of the minimum wage, whilst trade unions follow the development critically.

The fourth so-called ‘social package’ of the ruling cabinet is build up by measures from each participating political party. In order to achieve peace in the coalition, all parties could come up with proposals. The fourth package features, for instance, the introduction of 13th and 14th month salaries, an increase in the statutory minimum wage, exempting working pensioners from the payment of income taxes, and supplementary payments for night, weekend and holiday work. The measures included also higher subsidies for people to relocate for jobs.

In September 2017, the government came up with a budget that underpinned the planned measures. As the budget was launched, it was also said that pay proposals for the public sector will be made at the beginning of 2018 that should become effective as of 2019.

Some of the package measures have already been adopted. In October 2017, the government passed the increase of the minimum wage by 45 euro or 10.34% to 480 euro from January 2018. The plan is to increase it further to 500 euro in 2019. This decision has been heavily criticised by the employers and the country’s budget watchdog. Over the course 2017, the social partners (representatives of the government, trade unions and employers) failed to agree on the minimum wage, even during tripartite talks dedicated to this issue held in mid-September. Therefore, the government was obliged to submit its own proposal for adjusting the statutory minimum wage.

In a draft revision to the Labour Code, some MPs propose to increase surcharges for night work from the current 20% to 50% of the minimum wage, i.e. from €0.50 extra per hour to €1.25 per hour as of May 2018. According to the government, about 250,000 people work night shifts, which, when compared to the size of the population, is an absolute record. The revision of the Labour Code will also include a ban on social dumping. The parliament will discuss surcharges and other work-related measures from the social package, the ruling coalition’s social proposals and draft bills.

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