Slovak judges to get back pay

Slovak judges will get back the differences against their original salaries that got reduced in early 2011 by the so-called “Sulík amendment” to the law on salaries of some constitutional officials as part of the then austerity measures of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s government.

Slovak judges will get back the differences against their original salaries that got reduced in early 2011 by the so-called “Sulík amendment” to the law on salaries of some constitutional officials as part of the then austerity measures of Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s government.

Her government set a new formula for calculating judges’salaries – adopted in December 2010, and thus these were directly tied to performance of the budget deficit and GDP growth. The measure, proposed by Freedom and Solidarity’s (SaS) Chairman Richard Sulík, foresaw the salaries of judges being reduced by 15 percent for 2011 and saw judges’ pay drop by nearly 230 euros monthly, the SITA newswire wrote. For the year 2012, the salaries should have depended on the share of budgetary deficit of public administration and on the GDP. After two years, they were to be increased, but also reduced in times of deficit.

Judges had been receiving reduced salaries for almost six months, until the Constitutional Court suspended the effectiveness of the amendment when it accepted a motion filed by a group of Smer MPs. The Constitutional Court
decided in December 2013 that the cut in judges' salaries was at odds with the Constitution.

“Based on the Constitutional Court’s decision, the Justice Ministry will have to pay not only the lost income, but also additional payments to social insurance," Ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Donevová said, as quoted by SITA. According to preliminary calculations, judges will be paid an additional €3.75 million.

“The ministry does not have this money in its budget; it has asked the Finance Ministry for it," Donevová said.

“This is an amount that we will have to handle somehow,” Finance Minister Peter Kažimír said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Be it to add he expense of other expenses, or increased incomes.”

The SaS does not agree with the respective decision of the Constitutional Court which says that cutting back salaries of judges and prosecutors is at odds with constitutional principles of Slovakia.

“Such a decision absolutes the wage in relation to independent work performance of the judge, which we consider an inappropriate simplification,” the SaS argued in a statement. “The independence of judges is also a moral category. The labour market does not decide on appropriateness of wages of constitutional officials due to logical reasons, but this does not mean that these are to be separated from the real development of the economy.”

(Source: SITA, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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