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Labour minister defends €55,000 bonus for head of social insurer

Nobody else previously commissioned with heading the state-run social insurer, Sociálna poisťovňa (SP), has done as well as Ľuboš Lopatka, said Labour Minister Jozef Mihál from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party to journalists on February 27, saying that Lopatka deserves a €55,000 bonus, the TASR newswire reported. Mihál said that Lopatka deserves the bonus because he managed to significantly improve SP's finances and save €100 million and also introduced shorter pension application times and set up a telephone helpline for the public.

Nobody else previously commissioned with heading the state-run social insurer, Sociálna poisťovňa (SP), has done as well as Ľuboš Lopatka, said Labour Minister Jozef Mihál from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party to journalists on February 27, saying that Lopatka deserves a €55,000 bonus, the TASR newswire reported.

Mihál said that Lopatka deserves the bonus because he managed to significantly improve SP's finances and save €100 million and also introduced shorter pension application times and set up a telephone helpline for the public.

"If Slovakia had thirty Lopatkas and if every one of them brought €100 million into the budget, there would be no deficit," stated Mihál, as quoted by TASR, adding that even though a bonus of €55,000 may be viewed as outrageous by people who earn €300 or €400 per month, Lopatka is an outstanding manager who enjoys a high level of respect among experts.

The minister further said that this would be Lopatka's first bonus since he assumed his post and that the action fully complies with the law. Mihál stated that by proposing the bonus now and not after the election, he was prepared for the current public debate and did not try to avoid it.

Lopatka's monthly salary is €4,600 so the proposed bonus is 11 times his monthly salary and Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said on February 23 that she thought the amount proposed by Mihál seemed inappropriate.

"Top-ranking managers deserve top-ranking bonuses but if paid from public resources they should be appropriate to the current resources of the state," said Monika Čambalíková from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Several Slovak dailies wrote on February 28, that Lopatka promised to give the bonus to charity after the wave of criticism was reported in the media.

Source: TASR, Sme, Nový čas, Plus jeden deň

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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