Medical staff salary increase goes to second reading after special session

THE ONLY issue of the special parliamentary session on October 7 was the amendment increasing salaries of all health care staff. The draft amendment was approved by all 119 MPs present (i.e. both coalition and opposition deputies), and is now subject to a second reading in parliament that should give the final consent.

Head of Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives (SKSaPA), Iveta LazorováHead of Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives (SKSaPA), Iveta Lazorová (Source: SITA)

The amendment changes salaries for more than health care 20 professions, including pharmacists, laboratory technicians and hospital porters, stipulating the minimum amount of their basic salaries (excluding bonuses or payments for overtime) Nurses are to have the basic increase of salary amounting to 0.81-multiple of average monthly salary in Slovakia from two years ago, the TASR newswire wrote. The draft guarantees salaries for employees of all categories of medical facilities: state, regional or local and private.

Thus, €55 million extra shall go towards the increased salaries next year (about €10 for 18,000 employees in state hospitals, and €45 million for 20,000 employees in private facilities).

Health Minister Viliam Čislák, whose ministry drafted the amendment, said it was financially covered. The Finance Ministry would provide €55 million which means an increase of about 16 percent. He added however, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that employees in state hospitals will not feel a huge increase as they already have higher salaries than medical staff in other facilities. The biggest difference will benefit employees in facilities operated by regional or district administrations, probably hundreds of euros.

Opposition politicians have criticised the step. Representatives of medical staff who were also present in parliament opposed it too. They argue that the draft does not include staff in outpatient units, spas and social services. They require for the equation of the basic part of salary to take into account, the number of years of experience and professional practice. Unions and representative organisations have launched a petition that could lead to mass resignation notices, SITA wrote.  

The state budget draft does not envisage promised increases in the salaries of medical staff in 2016 because the proposed tariff for state insurees will not suffice to cover them, according to the Chamber of Slovak Nurses and Midwives’  and so the Chamber’s leadership has called on the government to invest more in the health-care system. ”I call on the members of Robert Fico’s cabinet to adjust the budget for health care so that the advised increase in medical staff' salaries can be guaranteed throughout 2016 and not only until the general election [March 2016],” chamber’s president Iveta Lazorová said, as quoted by TASR. “There’s also a need to introduce a remuneration system that would count on salary increases for all medical staff, meaning that one big headache in the Slovak health care system could come to an end.”

The vote ended the special session, and the next ordinary session of parliament is scheduled for November 10.

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