Public sector wages to be frozen for at least year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

NATO's two-day air force exercise Ramstein Alloy.
NATO's two-day air force exercise Ramstein Alloy. Source: Defense Forces.

While the crisis 10 years ago brought along wage cuts and redundancies in the public sector, nothing similar can be found in next year's state budget. However, wages in the public sector will not increase for at least a year.

The wage fund of the public sector will neither rise nor fall in 2021, finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) says.

"We won't move it to any directions, we will froze it. To be precise, the wage fund is not growing. Of course, institutions can raise some employees' wages if there are redundancies," Helme (EKRE) told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Although the government decided to boost pensions by €50 million next year, pay won't increase for the police, first responders or health care employees.

"Of course there are specific institutions - private sector institutions, regional institutions, which are independent and can make adjustments and recalculations, but there won't be a significant increase in wages in 2021," Minister of Social Affairs, Tanel Kiik (Center), said.

In the state budget strategy composed for the next four years, it is specified that teachers' wages won't increase over that time, in other words they will stay frozen at €1,540 a month.

"Our biggest sector is basic education; there is also elementary education and specialist education, higher education. There's a foreseeable hike for the higher education sector, but in basic education the position has been taken at the moment that we will not make any cuts, but we did not dare to increase the amounts much before the next state budget strategy," Minister of Education Mailis Reps (Center) said.

According to opposition MO Jürgen Ligi (Reform), the head of the Riigikogu's state budget committee the freezing of public sector wages is the least that can be done in the situation.

"This is the absolute bare minimum that can be done in a crisis situation and certainly cannot be the opposite. But the thing is that, before this, more jobs have been created proudly (i.e. Ligi was saying Helme had made a fanfare about job creation - ed.) and, of course, this freeze does not correspond to the finance minister's grand idea that the economy stands on the taxes of civil servants," Ligi said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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