Fico: I Expect Growth Pace of Minimum Wage to Be Faster

Fico wants minimum wage to grow faster (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 13 (TASR) – The minimum wage in Slovakia should grow faster, Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) told a news conference on Tuesday, adding that he expects Labour, Social Affairs and Family Minister Jan Richter (Smer-SD) to launch a very intensive dialogue with employees and employers on the minimum wage issue as soon as in January 2017.

“Originally we wanted to see the minimum wage starting with the number 5, i.e. it being higher than €500, by 2020. However, the economy is doing well and we must put constant pressure on wage growth. I expect the minister to set a substantially higher pace in wage growth so that we achieve this level as fast as possible,” stated Fico.

“The economy is actually flourishing. It’s very important that people feel this positive economic growth as much as possible,” stated Fico. Richter said that the Government’s real ambition is to achieve a minimum wage of €500 within two years.

Next year the Government wants to focus on people who refuse to work. The Labour Ministry has already prepared an amendment to the law on employment services and the law on material need. “We must clearly separate those who do not want to work from those who do. We want to ensure that the difference between those who work and those who don’t is significant so that it pays off to work,” said Fico. In addition to these laws, maternity and parental benefits should go up, too.

Meanwhile, Richter said that the Government wants to work on the legislation to increase the contribution for people who take care of their family members to the minimum wage level by the end of this government’s term in office.

Concerning pensioners whose pension was calculated before the 2004 pension reform, Richter said that the Government is removing all the injustice vis-a-vis pensioners. “These are people who are at a higher age, need money for medication and other things. That’s why we are going to tackle this problem,” said Richter. The changes might apply to 10,000 pensioners. “Pensions of this category of pensioners will be increased by €50 on average,” added Richter.