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Nurses lose right to decide on working night shifts

Nurses aged over 50 will now have to work night shifts without first being asked whether they agree to do so. According to the latest ruling of the Constitutional Court, a measure which required the agreement of a nurse or midwife to work night shifts is at odds with the constitution, since it favours only two groups of medical employees, the SITA newswire reported on July 4.

Nurses aged over 50 will now have to work night shifts without first being asked whether they agree to do so. According to the latest ruling of the Constitutional Court, a measure which required the agreement of a nurse or midwife to work night shifts is at odds with the constitution, since it favours only two groups of medical employees, the SITA newswire reported on July 4.

The judges of the Constitutional Court explained that the court accepts the specific regime of the work conditions of medical employees, but disagrees with favouring only certain groups. The measure over the agreement with night shifts is at odds with those parts of the constitution which talk about the equality of people’s dignity and rights, Martina Demčáková from the press department of the court told SITA.

Nurses disagree with the Constitutional Court ruling.

“We are deeply and repeatedly decimated by how the parliament passes unconstitutional laws,” said representatives of the Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives, as quoted by SITA, adding that MPs should accept the responsibility and consequences for their decisions.

Head of the trade unions Monika Kavecká said that the measure over night shifts was passed as compensation for their original request to retire earlier. Kavecká called the ruling “another blow from the Slovak government with which they take the benefit of free will from us”, which results in more restrictive measures for nurses, as reported by SITA.

The Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives also criticised the ruling, saying that the state only adds new requirements for nurses without offering benefits.

The possibility of older nurses to refuse to work at night was added to the Labour Code under the Iveta Radičová government (2010-12). The change was challenged by 33 Smer MPs, SITA wrote.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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