The Slovenia Times

Some 35,000 health and social care staff to get higher pay


Ljubljana - Some 35,000 health and social care employees will benefit from a pay rise under an agreement initialled on Wednesday by two trade unions representing the staff and the government. Hospital nurses can expect the highest rise, of three to six wage brackets.

Valued at nearly EUR 123 million, the deal brings higher wages to more than 80% of the employees in healthcare, 80% of employees in social care and 40% of support employees in those two activities, or a total of 200 different jobs.

The agreement was initialled on Wednesday by Health Minister Janez Poklukar and Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, and the heads of the two trade unions, who said negotiations would continue to tackle other issues.

The rises, unofficially ranging from 4% to 25%, will become effective after the respective collective bargaining agreements are signed, which is expected to happen by the end of the week.

"Today, we are a step closer to the goal of a fairer remuneration of work preformed by employees in healthcare. We'll resume talks to attain fair pay and decent work conditions for other jobs," said Slavica Mencingar, the head of the union of nursing staff in healthcare.

Irena Ilešič Čujovič, the head of the union of health and social care employees, said the pay deal would have to be followed up by adoption of work standards and norms, which they expect to happen by the end of the year.

The percentage of the pay rise will depend on the job, with the highest increase of between three to six brackets to benefit hospital nurses, in particular those working in intensive care units.

In social care, wages will be raised by four brackets. The rises will mainly benefit nursing staff at care homes, as well as staff in day centres, social services and home care.

Labour Ministry State Secretary Mateja Ribič was quoted by Radio Slovenija as saying that each bracket represented 4%, and that the staff who will have their pay raised by four brackets can count on about 20% higher pay.

According to Ilešič Čujovič, higher wages will also benefit psychologists, social workers and administrative staff in healthcare.

"We have at least started changing valuation of jobs in Group J to address cleaning, kitchen, laundry staff, receptionists and maintenance workers as indispensable links," the trade unionist said, adding that talks would resume in January.

Both her and Mencingar thanked Health Minister Poklukar for his commitment to talks, while Poklukar said the deal was but the beginning of normalisation of staffing situation in health and social care.

The goal is not only to prevent staff from leaving but also to boost staffing. However, Poklukar said the staffing crisis that had been deepening for years could not be fixed overnight.

The Labour Ministry has valued the financial impact of the agreed rises in social care at EUR 37 million, of which EUR 4 million is to be secured in the state budget and the public health insurer ZZZS is chip in EUR 17.4 million.

The difference is the amount that will affect prices of institutional care. Due to higher labour costs, these will increase by 5.6% on average, the ministry told the STA.

Meanwhile, the financial impact of the deal for healthcare is estimated at EUR 85.95 million, which is to be fully covered from the Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS).


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