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Fico: Package of measures to cost nearly Sk11 billion in 2009

The package of social measures the government is expected to approve on August 20 at its first post-holiday session will require additional expenses from the state budget of some Sk10.9 billion (€360 million), Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told journalists on August 7.

The package of social measures the government is expected to approve on August 20 at its first post-holiday session will require additional expenses from the state budget of some Sk10.9 billion (€360 million), Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told journalists on August 7.

Fico doesn't expect any problems regarding the approving of the measures, as the respective changes have also been discussed with the Finance Ministry, and are supported by all three parties of the coalition.

A part of the changes being prepared will also be a shift of valorization of pensions to as early as January 1, 2009. The pensions are preliminary scheduled to be increased by 6.75 percent, and they will be paid in the first month of the year. As for minimum wage, which currently stands at Sk8,100 (€268.87) per month, it could increase more dynamically than the current legal enactment suggests. According to it, if the social partners don't agree, the minimum wage increases automatically on the basis of a set model. Due to it, an increase to Sk8,690 (€288.46) would be carried out. However, the government will push the social partners to the amount of Sk8,900-9,000 (€295.43-298.75).

"When it comes to support for young families with children, we decided to go over the framework of agreements made at the coalition council session, and to provide the contribution not only when the second child is born, but also for the third child. As of January 1, 2009 families will be entitled to require a contribution amounting to Sk25,000 (€829.85) regardless of whether it is a first, second, or third child being born," continued Fico. Family allowances for every child will be increased next year by Sk100 (€3.32), to amount to Sk640 (€21.24) per month.

The changes in the support of handicapped persons will extract some Sk1.2 billion (€40 million) out of the state budget, and also adjusted will be the allowances for those in material need, and contributions to this allowance for single-parent families. According to the PM, in December a Christmas bonus for pensioners will be paid out as well. He also noted that those who receive a widow's or orphan's pension don't have claim to the Christmas contribution. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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