Bill raising minimum wage watered down
Tweaks to the bill that was drawn up by the Left, an opposition party that made a raising of the minimum wage a condition for its support to the minority government, were already indicated by all five coalition parties in first reading at the plenary two weeks ago.
In line with the original proposal, the minimum wage, currently at EUR 638 net, would go up by roughly 5% each in 2019 in 2020 to end up at EUR 700. In 2021, a calculation formula would be introduced to keep the minimum wage 20% above the minimum costs of living. Currently, this would mean EUR 736.
The main point of contention has been the timeline of the raise, which is closely linked to the exclusion of individual bonuses and allowances from the calculation of the minimum wage.
In line with the amendments filed by the coalition today, the bonuses would be excluded only on 1 January 2020 and not a year earlier. This would include the bonus for special work conditions, the performance bonus and the years of service bonus.
Another amendment affects the post-2020 formula, introducing a 40% ceiling, meaning the minimum wage would not have to only remain 20% above minimum living costs but would also not be allowed to be more than 40% above them.
The Left's leader Luka Mesec announced before the committee session that the party opposed the ceiling, while it would propose that at least the years of service bonus would be excluded from minimum wage calculation already next year.
The Left abstained from the vote on the delay of exclusion and voted against the 40% ceiling.
A separate amendments proposal was drawn up by employers' organisations, which are ready to start paying the performance bonuses on top of the minimum wage starting 2020.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) director general Sonja Šmuc argued that the scrapping of the remaining bonuses from the equation would have to wait until the definitions of "wage" and "bonus" would be coordinated with the labour relations act.
Legal issue here have also been highlighted by the parliament's legal service, Šmuc noted, while warning that the minimum wage raise would also affect jobs. Companies always adapt, the question however is whether we are willing to accept the price, she said.
This amendment was not endorsed by the committee.