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Union about-turn on employee bonus

TRADE union representatives have changed their minds about the so-called employee bonus, a government payment to enable the socially vulnerable to start work. At the beginning of August, the unions criticised the proposed bonus, arguing that the state was using it to encourage people to work for low wages. But by August 25 they had decided to support it, the SITA wrote.

TRADE union representatives have changed their minds about the so-called employee bonus, a government payment to enable the socially vulnerable to start work. At the beginning of August, the unions criticised the proposed bonus, arguing that the state was using it to encourage people to work for low wages. But by August 25 they had decided to support it, the SITA wrote.

"We asked the Finance Ministry for a meeting, where we discussed the remaining issues," said Miroslav Gazdík, the president of the Trade Union Confederation (KOZ).

The Finance Ministry assured them that the introduction of the employee bonus would not affect further increases in the minimum wage.

However, Gazdík emphasised that the employee bonus would put employees at a disadvantage regarding social insurance, because although the income of employees would go up, the employee bonus would not be included in calculations for social insurance, thereby depressing recipients’ future pensions.

"That is why we asked the finance minister to find a solution that would guarantee at least minimum pensions," said Gazdík.

The proposed employee bonus is Sk209 (€6.94) per month. However, low-income employees would not receive it monthly but in the following year, after filing their income tax returns. The state intends to begin paying employee bonuses from 2010.

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