Delo fears better pay for care workers will increase care home bills

Medical office - middle-aged male doctor greeting patient, shaking hands.

Ljubljana – The government and trade unions have reached a deal to raise wages for nursing staff in health care and social care under which some 80% of the staff will see their wages rise by 4-24%, Delo says on Saturday. It fears, however, that higher wages will translate into higher bills for care services paid by care home residents.

The deal reached earlier this week addresses an old problem the epidemic has further exposed – nursing staff shortages, where half of all calls for new staff fails.

In relatively short negotiations with the government, the trade unions managed to negotiate better pay for many more than just the most critical jobs, for 35,000 workers.

While both sides agree the staff proving to be of key importance during the epidemic should be properly paid, a major mistake of this deal, and many government-public sector pay deals before, is that the party that will provide the money for the pay raise has not been included in the talks.

More than EUR 100 million of the EUR 122 million deal is to come from the ZZZS public health fund, and EUR 4 million for social care workers should come directly from the budget.

But the other EUR 16 million is a sum that is to result in 5.6% higher prices of care home services as a result of higher wages, the newspaper says, adding that “calls for better pay not to result in higher prices of care services that are paid by care home residents are coming from all sides”.

It could thus happen that for a year or so, this cost would indeed be covered from the budget, especially since a general election is nearing.

But all such increases in labour costs have in the long run increased bills for care home services that are paid by care home residents, Delo concludes the front-page commentary Calls for Wages Not to Affect Care Home Services Bills.