2005 collective agreement signed for public service employees
In December 2004, a new collective agreement was signed for Slovakian public service employees, covering 2005. The agreement regulates matters such as pay increases (5% from July 2005), working time, paid leave, redundancy payments and supplementary pension contributions. Some significant changes were made in comparison with the 2004 agreement.
A new collective agreement for public service employees, covering 2005, was signed on 20 December 2004 by representatives of the government, the Association of Cities and Villages of Slovakia (Združenie miest a obcí Slovenka, ZMOS), regional governments, the Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR) and the Independent Christian Trade Unions of Slovakia (Nezávislé kresťanské odbory Slovenska, NKOS). ZMOS had refused to sign the collective agreement for 2004 (SK0401109N) as it believed that insufficient financial resources were planned for the activities of municipalities. It seems that this problem is now seen as less acute.
The new sectoral collective agreement took effect on 1 January 2005 and expires on 31 December 2005. The state budget law for 2005 takes into account the costs in relation to the employment conditions of public service employees provided for in the collective agreement.
Several areas of employment conditions laid down in the 2004 collective agreement remained unchanged in the new agreement, but some are new. The following conditions for public service employees remain the same:
- a possible reduction of working time to 37.5 hours weekly in single-shift operations, to 36.25 in two-shift operations and to 35 hours in three-shift or continuous operations. 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;
- a possible extension of paid annual leave by up to one week over the provisions laid down in the Labour Code;
- a contribution to the employees' supplementary pension insurance of at least 2% of pay. An increase in this contribution may be agreed in individual cases. The employees covered and the conditions for making contributions remain unchanged; and
- a compulsory contribution to the social fund (set up by employers to provide for social welfare of employees) of 1% of total paybill per year. This amount can be increased by at least 0.05 percentage points through local-level collective agreements.
The following employment conditions are new in the 2005 collective agreement.
- From 1 July 2005, the pay rates (tariffs) for public service employees will increase by 5% (the 2004 increase was 7% from 1 August). The increase will apply both to: the basic scale of pay tariffs; and the specific scales of pay tariffs applying to teachers and some other employees (eg employees of pedagogical and psychological advisory centres and employees in the field of culture nature protection). The increase of in the pay tariffs also applies to teachers in universities, researchers working for scientific/research institutions and healthcare employees, who were previously remunerated according to separate pay tariffs and were not included in the sectoral collective agreement for 2004.
- The minimum levels of redundancy payments have been reduced. Employers must make redundancy payments to entitled employees amounting to at least one month's pay, regardless of the employee's length of service. Employer must also make redundancy payments to employees who perform work in relation to the liquidation of an employer or part of it, and who do this work until the end of all necessary liquidation activities. The 2004 sectoral collective agreement provided for redundancy payments of at least three months’ pay for employees with at least five years' service, and at least four months’ pay for those with over five years' service.
- 'Discharge benefit' may be increased by at least 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 2004 collective agreement limited the additional benefit to one month’s pay only.
The public services collective agreement for 2005 also includes a 'supplementary memorandum' expressing the social partners' willingness to reach preliminary agreement on pay tariff increases of 6% from 1 July 2006 and 5% from 1 July 2007. This is the first time this forward-looking approach has been taken in sectoral collective bargaining in the public sector and may indicate increasing trust between the partners.
Negotiators from both sides will evaluate the implementation of the 2005 collective agreement after six months upon the request of either party (the previous agreement allowed for quarterly evaluations). Either contracting party may request a change in or a supplement to the collective agreement on a basis of the outcomes of this evaluation.