Slovakia: Collective bargaining in the public sector

Collective bargaining in Slovakia’s public sector is regulated by the Collective Bargaining Act, the Labour Code and by laws governing the civil service and public service. Legislation specifies the scope of collective bargaining in multi-employer and single-employer agreements, but the main issues are working time, wages, paid holidays, severance pay, discharge benefits and the Social Fund’s resources.

Separate negotiations for the private and public sectors

In 2002, a new Labour Code and new labour legislation for the public sector were implemented. In July 2001, the Slovakian parliament had adopted Act No. 311/2001 on the Labour Code, Act No. 312/2001 on the Civil Service and Act No. 313/2001 on the Public Service, all of which came into effect on 1 April 2002. This was the first time that the private sector and the public sector had a different set of regulations for terms of employment and industrial relations.

In 2002, the government and trade unions concluded multi-employer collective agreements for the public and civil service for 2003 to improve employment and working conditions of public employees. Similar agreements were concluded for 2004. However, in January 2004, wide amendments to the Act on the Civil Service (Act No. 551/2003) were implemented and a completely new act (No. 552/2003 on the Performance of Works in the Public Interest) replaced the previous one on the public service. One of the most important changes was that it also amended the Act on Collective Bargaining, making negotiations for single-employer agreements in civil servant organisations possible as well as multi-employer bargaining.

Collective agreements and actors

Multi-employer collective agreements for civil servants are concluded by representatives of the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ SR), the Independent Christian Trade Unions (NKOS) and the General Free Trade Union Association (VSOZ). The government is usually represented by the Minister of Finance, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. The head of the Government Office signs the agreements.

Multi-employer collective agreements for the public service are concluded by the top representative of KOZ SR and representatives of nine affiliated trade union associations in the public service, plus representatives of NKOS and of VSOZ. The government is represented by the ministers of the interior, finance, labour, social affairs and family, education and healthcare. The President of the Association of Municipalities of Slovakia (ZMOS) and the chairs of eight regional self-governments also sign the agreements on behalf of the employers.

Single-employer collective agreements are concluded between representatives of local trade unions and the management of civil service and public service organisations. 

Bargaining scope

Both multi-employer and single-employer agreements can establish more favourable employment and working conditions than those stipulated by the labour legislation, and single-employer agreements can be even more favourable than multi-employer agreements. The agreements are usually concluded for one year.

The legislation specifies a different bargaining scope for the civil service and the public service. The most recent issues covered by the multi-employer agreement in the civil service are:

  • weekly working hours – 37.5 hours worked over single shifts, 36.25 hours in split shifts and a maximum of 35 hours in a three-shift arrangement or non-stop operation (the Labour Code specifies a maximum of 40 hours);
  • a minimum five-weeks' paid holidays;
  • an increase of wages/salary tariffs for civil servants;
  • a discharge benefit for retiring employees that gives one month’s more salary than stipulated by the Act on the Civil Service;
  • an employers’ contribution to employees’ supplementary pension scheme (the third pillar) that is the equivalent of 2% (at least) of civil servants´ total annual wage bill;
  • a contribution by employers to the Social Fund that must be the equivalent of 1% of the total annual pay bill, plus a minimum additional contribution of 0.05%. 

The same provisions are agreed in the public service multi-employer agreements, with the exception of provisions dealing with the increase in public servants’ salary tariffs.

The scope of multi-employer and single-employer collective agreements is interlinked. Negotiable issues in the single-employer agreements are specified in the respective multi-employer agreement. It is possible, therefore, to set higher rates of severance pay and discharge benefit for retired employees in a single-employer agreement than those agreed in the relevant multi-employer agreement.  In public service organisations, it is also possible to bargain on any issue of employment and working conditions not specifically banned by law.

Wage bargaining 

in the public sector and civil service, wages are the main issue negotiated and agreed individually in multi-employer agreements. Necessary resources for wage increases are covered by the state budget and the agreements are effective from 1 January each year.

During the second half of 2000, agreed increases to the basic salary tariffs for the civil servants or public servants ranged from 3% to 7%. In 2008, it was agreed that civil servants should get 3% and public servants 4%. Due to the economic crisis, increases to public employees’ salaries were kept to a minimum for 2010 and, although the economy started to recover, zero wage increases were agreed for the next three years. In the collective agreements for 2014 there was, unusually, an across-the-board increase of €16 in the salaries of civil servants and public servants, with the exception of teachers who were given a 5% increase.

Representatives of trade unions, the government and ZMOS have concluded multi-employer collective agreements for the civil service and the public service for 2016. Though trade unionists demanded a 7% increase in salary tariffs, they finally agreed to a 4% increase and the retention of benefits agreed for 2015.

Collectively agreed wage increases in the public sector

Increases in basic wage tariffs

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Civil service

3%

3%

1%

0

0

0

€16

1.5%

1%**

4%

Public service

4%

5%–7%

1%

0

0

0

€16*

1.5

1%**

4%

Note: * Teachers had a 5% increase; ** From 1 July 2015.

 

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