Planned teacher salary increase will cost state nearly €300 million

School.
School. Source: ERR

The estimated additional funding needed to increase the salaries of general education school teachers to 120 percent of the average wage is €295 million, Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) said.

Kersna responded to an inquiry made by the Social Democratic Party (SDE) group in the Riigikogu about the average salaries of teachers by saying that reaching the goal of increasing salaries to 120 percent of the average wage would cost €45.1 million in 2023, €96.1 million in 2024 and €153.6 million in 2025, totaling €295 million.

The increase in teachers' labor costs has been confirmed in the government's state budget strategy for 2022. €12 million has been allocated for the action, which would ensure a 3 percent increase to the minimum wage level.

Kersna added that in addition to the need for additional salary support, school managers and administrators hold an important role in shaping the increase to teachers' salaries. "The school administrator shapes the school network and covers the expenses of the schools. The administrator hires the necessary number of teachers and creates a salary organization system based on their work and contribution," the education minister noted.

The minister said there were some local municipality governments in 2020, where the average wages of teachers was around 120 percent of the national average wage (Saue, Kiili, Keila, Jõelähtme, Tallinn, Kohila, Kambja, Muhu, Harku, Luunja, Kastre).

"Many local municipality governments are developing changes to their school networks over the coming years. We have agreed with the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities that we will draw up a school network management action plan by the fall of this year in order to motivate local governments to optimize school networks and to increase the salaries of teachers," Kersna noted.

Responding to a question about the source for the ministry's funding, Kersna said the Ministry of Finance will update their economic forecast twice a year.

"The government and the Riigikogu will use the economic forecast to make fiscal policy decisions and to create strategic plans. The government's and the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities' negotiation work group agreed that the teacher salary increase is a priority and requires additional resources from the state budget," Kersna said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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