€600 gross in monthly bonus for judges and prosecutors

An ornament on the gate of the Ljubljana District Court in the shape of scales
Judges and prosecutors to get a monthly bonus until pay reform is implemented. Photo: STA

The government is planning to introduce a separate pay tier for the judiciary as part of a reform of the public sector pay system. Until the reform is implemented, judiciary officials will receive a monthly bonus of €600 gross on top of their pay.

The plan, which is to benefit both judges and prosecutors, was announced by Prime Minister Robert Golob as he addressed the general assembly of the Association of Judges on 10 January.

“To show we’re serious [about the reform], we’ve decided for a bonus to be added to your pay, starting from 1 January,” he said. The bonus would be a starting point for the planned reform.

Golob said 2023 would be the year of reform, not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of the efforts to ensure the judiciary’s autonomy.

Since 2008, judges’ salaries have dropped by 5% in real terms while those of other public sector officials have increased by 15%, Golob noted.

Judges have been unhappy with their wages and position in the single pay system for a while. Supreme Court President Damijan Florjančič said the back and forth over the issue had been going on for a decade, and judges were not being listened to.

One of the core conditions for judicial autonomy is an environment where judges are paid enough to be able to devote themselves solely to their work, he said, adding that decent wages were also a bulwark against corruption risks.

Judges’ push for higher pay was also backed at the meeting by National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič, a former judge herself.

Apart from the judiciary, healthcare will also get a separate tier within the single public sector pay system under the government’s plans.

The single pay system was introduced in 2008 after six years of negotiations with the unions. According to information on the government web site, the system covers more than 170,000 employees, including officials, and the annual wage bill exceeds €4 billion.