ZSSS demands award of 13th-month payment and Christmas bonus

In November 2004, Slovenia's ZSSS trade union confederation called on employers to award workers a '13th-month' payment and, where provided for by an agreement, a Christmas bonus. Around a fifth of the workforce received a 13th-month payment in 2003.

At a press conference on 9 November 2004, the Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije, ZSSS) (SI0210102F) called on employers to pay workers a '13th month' wage payment in November and December and, where laid down by a collective or other agreement, also to pay a Christmas bonus. According to ZSSS, these payments provide incentives and motivate workers to strive to achieve good economic results for the employer. ZSSS, which makes a similar call every year, reminded the employers of the basis for these payments:

  • Article 49 of the 'general collective agreement' for the whole private sector;
  • identical provisions in a majority of sectoral collective agreements; and
  • adopted criteria for calculating the part of the pay that depends on the employer's economic results.

ZSSS is calling especially for payment of the '13th month' wage which, unlike the Christmas bonus, is included in pay for purposes of pensions calculation.

Article 49 of the general collective agreement for the private sector (dealing with 'part of the pay on the basis of successful business operation') provides that:

  • the criteria for the determination of that part of pay based on the success of the business operation shall be determined by the employer and the representative trade union during the adoption of the former's business plan. When deciding on the sum available for such payments, the employer and trade union must also agree on whether this part of pay should be paid in cash or shares, and when it should be paid out; and
  • workers who have not worked for the whole year are entitled to a part of the payment based on business success which is proportional to their effective working time.

Brane Misic, the ZSSS executive secretary responsible for pay system development, said at the beginning of 2004 that ZSSS encouraged its company trade unions to conclude written agreements on the amount and on the mode of payment of the part of the pay based on the successful business operation of the company. However, it is necessary to take into account the guidelines of the tripartite 'social agreement' for 2003-5 (SI0307101F). This means that the real pay growth at national, sectoral and company level must lag behind the increase in labour productivity (determined on the basis of the added value per employee) by one percentage point. According to ZSSS estimates, this formula still leaves some room for adjustment of pay. It expects that in 2004, the amounts of 13th-month payments will be a little higher than in previous years, leading to an average real pay rise of around 2.5% which is in accordance with the social agreement's guidelines.

In 2003, 20.6% of all employed people received a 13th-month payment:

  • 10.0% received a payment in November and the average gross amount was SIT 130,219 (around EUR 554);
  • 10.6% received a payment in December and the average gross amount was SIT 148,334 (around EUR 631).

The greatest share of the employed people who received a 13th-month payment was in: transport, storage and communications; financial services; and production of chemicals and chemical products (where the pharmaceuticals industry is the leading subsector). The amount of the 13th-month payment was lowest (as expected because of economic difficulties) in textiles, leather and woodworking.

There are no data on the average amount of the Christmas bonus, because the statistical office adds the data on the Christmas bonus to those on the 13th-month payment.

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