News digest: Matovič finally unveils his tax reform, says it will be a revolution

Tax changes to target families, labour and businesses. The president signs changes to pandemic legislation. New carrier in Bratislava Region faces problems.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Monday, November 15, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

First packages of tax and levy changes introduced

Following his promise to gradually start introducing the three parts of a long-awaited reform of taxes and levies, Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) presented the very first details.

The first package of measures, presented on November 14, targets families with children. Matovič proposed increasing the child allowance from €25.50 per month to €30 for every child younger than 18 years, and €50 per month for a child older than 18 if they are still in school until they finish their full-time university education.

Other changes include an increase of the allowance for leisure activities and extra school lessons, an increase in the children's tax bonus for working parents, and a higher recreational bonus for children.

Another package of measures presented a day later focuses on the taxation of labour. The minister proposes, for example, a single levy and a single tax paid from the employee’s gross salary.

There should also be some bonuses for both employees with low income and employers hiring students and disabled people.

Matovič hopes that in the end, employees will receive higher net salaries and the tax burden on labour will be reduced.

The third package, focused on the taxation of businesses, will be introduced tomorrow.

Green light for tighter anti-pandemic rules

President Zuzana Čaputová has signed an amendment to pandemic legislation, approved by the parliament on Friday.

The legislation enables employers to check the Covid green passes of their employees, meaning that they will see whether their staff members have been vaccinated against Covid, recovered from the disease or have a negative test result. Only after showing such proof will employees be allowed to enter the workplace. Employers will also have to secure the testing of their staff.

At the same time, the owners of premises such as shops or restaurants will be able to check Covid green passes and the identity of their holders. It will be possible to refuse the entrance of those who decline presenting these documents. The same will apply to mass events.

The new rules grant more powers to hygienists (who will be able to shut down premises that breach valid rules), and increase fines for attacking medical staff or falsifying Covid green passes.

Moreover, these regulations will make it possible to change the rules for vaccinated people and those who recovered from Covid in the black tier districts set by the currently valid Covid automat alert system.

Many details of the planned changes remain unclear. This includes the fact that it is still not known whether employers will be obliged to check green passes. Moreover, several employers dislike the fact that they are supposed to secure and pay for the testing of their staff.

The cabinet is expected to clarify some details at its session tomorrow.

For a deeper insight into current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

More coronavirus and vaccination developments

  • 3,345 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 10,999 PCR tests performed on November 14. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 2,637 people. Sixty-one more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 46.29 percent, 2,546,037 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Altogether 52 districts are in the black tier from today, meaning they apply the strictest anti-pandemic measures. Another 19 districts are in the dark red tier, and eight in the red tier.
  • The interest in Covid vaccination increased significantly last week. The vaccination centres in Slovakia administered 25,000 first shots, while in October, it was about 11,000 shots a week. (Denník N)
  • Altogether 205,102 people have received the third (booster) Covid shot so far. The most were vaccinated in Bratislava Region (42,133 people), followed by Košice Region (30,146 people) and Nitra Region (29,851 people).
  • The situation in hospitals in Prešov Region is critical, as and in Presov, they are left with no empty beds for Covid patients. Altogether 165 patients had to be transported to other hospitals last week; 35 required mechanical ventilation. The situation is also bad in Košice Region – at Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Košice, nearly 90 percent of Covid beds are occupied.

Travel info

Travel to the European Union from the outer borders of Slovakia has been temporarily restricted since November 10. The restricted area includes the outer border with Ukraine while flights from countries outside the Schengen area are also banned.

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Picture of the day

The new health centre in the reconstructed building on Bezručova Street in Bratislava, inscribed as a national cultural monument, will open next March. The facility will provide medical treatment after 17 years again. Eight medical centres are expected to open gradually, with the aim of improving the quality and accessibility of medical treatment, as well as reducing the waiting time for an examination by a specialist.

Feature story for today

The government has proposed to make it easier for foreign healthcare workers to take jobs in Slovakia. An association of foreign doctors has said that the proposals, which will amend existing laws on employing foreign doctors, do not go far enough, labelling them “insignificant.”

Law changes for foreign medics do not go far enough, organisation uniting foreign doctors says Read more 

In other news

  • Bratislava Region officially has a new suburban bus carrier – the Arriva company replaced Slovak Lines on November 15. The carrier is facing several problems in relation to buses that failed to show up at stops on Monday morning, mostly due to a shortage of bus drivers.
  • The district court in Trenčín decided on the conditional release of tax fraudster Ladislav Bašternák, accepting the proposal of the prison governor in Dubnica nad Váhom, where Bašternák is serving his five-year prison sentence. The decision is not valid as the prosecutor has appealed.
  • Slovakia is facing another infringement of the European Commission, this time for its waste management system. This concerns 111 landfills in Slovakia. The problem is particularly the fact that more than 50 percent of municipal waste ends up in landfills.
  • Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair will launch regular flights between Bratislava and Lviv in Ukraine on January 2, 2022. The planes should be dispatched three flights a week.
  • The state borrowed €334.5 million in three bond auctions, the Debt and Liquidity Management Agency (ARDAL) reported.
  • Slovak ice hockey player Marián Hossa will be officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, as part of the 2020 induction class. He is only the third Slovak-born player to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame (after Stan Mikita and Peter Šťastný). He was elected in June 2020, but the ceremony had to be postponed due to Covid.

More on

Personality of the Velvet Revolution dies at age 77 Read more 

America’s greatest inventor will return to Bratislava. A new cinema will bear his name Read more 

Archaeologists unearthed a Germanic tomb 15 years ago. When will it be exhibited? Read more 

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