President Andrej Kiska returned the amended act to parliament saying that the explanatory memorandum provides no indication about the impact of the bill on the state or the Health Ministry’s budget. He also maintains that the envisaged changes fail to be covered sufficiently in terms of funds.
However, the legislators did not accept the comments and passed the amendment in its previously approved version, the TASR newswire reported.
Under the bill approved on November 25, health care workers both in state and private hospitals should see their salaries increased as of January. The pay rise should apply to over 20 occupations such as nurses, medical laboratory technicians and orderlies, but not doctors. The minimum level of the basic salary component concerned has been calculated in line with adjustments to doctors’ salaries and should mean that, for example, nurses should receive incomes reaching 81 percent of the overall average received by employees in all sectors of the economy two years ago.
Prime Minister Robert Fico claimed before the voting that if MPs accepted the president’s comments, the nurses would not receive higher salaries.
“The aim is to increase the salaries, and the government allocated and guarantees €55 million for this purpose,” Fico added, as quoted by TASR.
However, organisations bringing together the medical workers have been unimpressed. They claim the legislation will only increase salaries at hospitals but not in doctor’s surgeries, spas or social service facilities. They also demand that factors such as the number of years one has worked in the sector be included in the package. In an attempt to counter the bill, a number of nurses have handed in their resignations.
While the resignations of 1,041 nurses and midwives still remain in effect, another 223 of their peers have backtracked on their decisions and 78 new nurses have been hired in the interim, TASR reported.
Speaking earlier on December 15 before the bill was re-approved, Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives head Iveta Lazorová said that there would be more resignations if the veto was overridden.
15. Dec 2015 at 14:12 | Compiled by Spectator staff