First sectoral collective agreement signed for public service employees
In August 2003, the first sectoral collective agreement was signed for public service employees in Slovakia. The accord provides for pay increases, working time reductions, increased annual leave, enhanced redundancy payments and higher social contributions.
A new Act on the Public Service (No. 313/2001 in the Collection of Laws) came into force in April 2002 (SK0206102F). One effect of the legislation was to allow for the first time for collective bargaining over employment conditions at national sectoral level for public service employees (of whom there are around 400,000). After two months of preparation and five months of bargaining, the first such agreement, covering 2003, was signed on 6 August 2002. It was signed: on behalf of the employers by the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family, Peter Magvaši, the vice-chair of the Association of Towns and Municipalities of Slovakia (Združenie miest a obcí Slovenska, ZMOS), Dušan Šimka, and the chair of the Žilina self-administration district, Jozef Tarčák; and on behalf of the trade unions by the president of the Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR), Ivan Sakto.
The new public services sectoral agreement enters into force at the same time as the Act on the state budget for 2003, ensuring that the expenses resulting from the agreement are taken into account in the budget. After a half-term evaluation of the implementation of the one-year agreement, any of the signatory parties may call for amendments. Both of the contracting parties are obliged to negotiate over such a proposal for changes within 30 days of it being requested.
The main points of the new agreement are as follows.
- Working time will be reduced from 40 hours to 37.5 hours a week (in a two-shift operation to 36.25 hours, and in a three-shift or non-stop operation to a maximum of 35 hours).
- Public service employees will receive one more week of paid annual leave than laid down in the new Labour Code (SK0207102F) with the exception of teachers, and the directors and deputy directors of kindergartens.
- An increase in 'tariff' salary rates from 1 July 2003. The basic scale of salary tariffs (the so-called 'general table') will increase by 8%, and and the specific scale of salary tariffs (the so-called 'pedagogical table') by 5%. This latter scale covers: teachers (with the exception of teachers at universities, who are remunerated according to a so-called 'health service' table, which is more advantageous); employees with a university education who perform scientific and teaching activities at scientific/research workplaces, or creative fine-arts activities at universities; and employees who perform professional activities in the cultural area (creating, disseminating, preserving and making accessible culture), or who work in geology, nature and environmental protection, water protection, air protection and waste management.
- Apart from the obligatory redundancy payment of two months' pay, employers will pay to those employees who are dismissed due to the closure of all or part of the employing organisation or due to the cancellation of their position, additional redundancy compensation, bringing the amount to a maximum of three months' pay. Those employees who are at least 45 years old and have been working in public services for more than 15 years may receive supplementary redundancy compensation of up to another three months' pay (bringing the maximum to six months' pay).
- 'Discharge benefit' is increased by one month's pay to two months' pay. Discharge benefit is provided to employees after the first termination of their employment, or when they become entitled to an old age or invalidity pension, or a pension on grounds of length of employment.
- The supplementary pension insurance contribution in 2003 will be at least 2% of employees' pay.
- The obligatory contribution to the social fund will be at least 1% of total paybill per year. The social fund, set up by employers, provides social care to employees (in line with Act No. 152/1994 on the Social Fund, as amended).