New civil service collective agreement brings changes
At the end of 2003, a new sectoral collective agreement was signed for the Slovak civil service. The deal includes higher wage rates, more resources for social funds and the option for employers to make supplementary pension insurance contributions on behalf of their employees .
On 17 December 2003, a new sectoral collective agreement for civil service employees was concluded for 2004. Ivan Mikloš, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Vladimír Palko, the Minister of the Interior, Ľudovít Kaník, the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Ľubomír Plai, head of the Civil Service Office (Úrad pre štátnu službu) and Milan Hanzel, the General Prosecutor, signed on behalf of the state, while Igor Lenský, vice-president of the Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR) signed on behalf of the trade unions. The sectoral collective agreement came into force on 1 January 2004 concurrently with the State Budget Act for 2004.
The collective agreement is binding on all unionised civil servants and civil service offices. It sets civil servants' working time in 2040 at 37.5 hours a week, the same as in 2003. Also, the existing additional week of paid leave for civil servants on top of what the Civil Service Act allows has been kept (SK0212102N).
There are changes in civil servants' remuneration. Wage rates will be increased by 7% from 1 August 2004 (the previous collective agreement increased wage rates by 5% from 1 July 2003), Moreover, in contrast to the previous agreement, the new agreement contains the following provisions:
- on reaching retirement age (though continued part-time work is still possible at this stage) civil servants entitled to an old-age or invalidity pension will receive a higher payment than the one laid down in the Civil Service Act (the employee's last basic salary); and
- in contracts concluded during 2004 on supplementary pension insurance, the amount of the employer’s contribution will be at least 2% of the total civil servant paybill.
Changes have also been made in relation to contributions to the 'social funds' of civil service bodies. An increase of at least 0.05% on the current 1% was agreed, taken from the gross annual wages of all civil servants.
A particular feature of the 2004 collective agreement is its specification of the scope of collective bargaining at enterprise level. The possibility to bargain and conclude collective agreements at enterprise level derives from the amended Act 551 on the Civil Service (2003) which concurrently amended the Collective Bargaining Act. According to this amendment, civil service offices and relevant trade union bodies can conclude enterprise collective agreements aimed at establishing better terms and conditions for civil servants than those agreed in the sectoral collective agreement. According to the sectoral collective agreement, enterprise collective agreements can determine:
- rules on mutual relations between the civil service office and the relevant trade union body;
- one-off payments to employees leaving the civil service due to retirement or invalidity;
- catering services for employees and use of the social fund.
Implementation of the sectoral collective agreement for the civil service will be assessed on a quarterly basis by authorised negotiators at the request of either party. After an assessment of this kind either of the parties can request a change or supplement to the collective agreement. The contracting parties are obliged to negotiate on a proposed change or supplement no later than 30 days after receiving the proposal. The contracting parties have also agreed to exchange the information necessary for the conclusion of a new sectoral agreement for the following year.