New collective agreement signed for public service employees
In October 2003, a new collective agreement was signed for Slovakian public service employees, covering 2004. The agreement regulates matters such as pay increases, working time, paid leave, redundancy payments, and supplementary pension contributions. The organisation representing town and municipal employers did not sign the agreement.
Trade unions and employers' representatives in the public services signed a collective agreement for 2004 on 22 October 2003 - the first such agreement, covering 2003, was signed in 2002 (SK0209101N). However, the Association of Towns and Municipalities of Slovakia (Zdruzenie miest a obcí Slovenka, ZMOS) did not sign the deal, and local and municipal employers are thus not obliged to follow the agreement’s provisions. According to its representative, Milan Muska, ZMOS had objections to the draft agreement because its request for securing sufficient financial means needed by towns and municipalities for their activities was not accepted, and it was finally not invited to sign the agreement.
The public services agreement took effect concurrently with the law on the state budget for 2004, which takes into account costs in relation to employment conditions in the public service provided for in the agreement. The main provisions are outlined below.
From 1 August 2004, the pay rates (tariffs) for public service employees will increase by 7%. Unlike under the previous agreement, this increase will apply both to: the basic scale of pay tariffs (the 'general table'); and the specific scales of pay tariffs applying to teachers and some other employees (eg employees of pedagogical and psychological advisory centres and other pedagogical, psychological, educational and diagnostic centres for children and young people, and relevant employees in the field of culture, geology and nature protection). The increase of in the pay tariffs does not apply to teachers in universities, researchers working for scientific/research institutions and healthcare employees, who are remunerated according to a separate pay tariff table.
In individual public service organisations it may be agreed to:
- reduce working time from 40 hours to 37.5 a week. In two-shift operation, weekly hours may be reduced to 36.25, while in three-shift or continuous operations, working time cannot exceed 35 hours. These options are the same as in the 2003 collective agreement, with one difference - the working time of employees who deal with high-level X-ray radiation and ionisation devices may be reduced to 33.5 hours a week; and
- increase paid annual leave by up to one week over the provisions laid down in the Labour Code (SK0207102F), as in the 2003 agreement.
Provisions on redundancy payments have been changed, compared with the previous agreement. The employer must make a redundancy payment only to those employees whose employment relationship is terminated on the grounds of redundancy or if the employer or part thereof is closed or relocated (and to those doing work in relation to the employer’s liquidation in such circumstances). The redundancy payment amounts to:
- at least three month’s pay if the employee has been working for the employer for up to five years and termination of the employment relationship is based on an agreement; and
- at least four month’s pay if the employee has been working for the employer for more than five years and termination of the employment relationship is based on an agreement.
'Discharge benefit' has been increased by one month’s pay (over and above the provisions laid down in the Labour Code). This 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 contribution to supplementary pension insurance remains at least 2% of employees' pay in 2004. The compulsory contribution to the social fund (set up by employers to provide for social welfare of employees) also remains the same in 2004, at 1% of total paybill per year. This amount can be increased by 0.05 percentage points or more by collective agreement.
Negotiators will evaluate the implementation of the agreement on a quarterly basis on the request of either contracting party. Either contracting party may request a change or addition to the agreement on the basis of the outcomes of the evaluation. The contracting parties are obliged to negotiate any proposal for changes to the agreement within 30 days of such a proposal being made.