The monthly salaries of police officers, rescuers and teachers in Estonia should be higher than the average national wage, find the interior and education ministers. Whether and how much state employees' wages will increase next year won't be clear until the government has drawn up and the Riigikogu has passed the 2023 state budget.
Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said that within the next few years, police officers' and rescuers' salaries should be increased to 120 percent of the national average wage. This would mark a 15 percent raise for police and 25 percent raise for rescuers.
"As a police officer's salary is currently around €1,500, that raise should be hundreds of euros," Läänemets said. "And a rescuer's salary is €1,190. These people can't even get home loans with such wages. We as a state have created a situation in which people of vital importance to us, who ensure everyone's safety, can't guarantee their own families' safety. That's sort of a disgrace for the state."
Teachers' salaries remain below the national average as well. The Reform-Isamaa-SDE coalition agreement states that during the transition to Estonian-language education, a general salary increase for teachers will be set as a target as well.
Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said that education should be one of the priorities of next year's state budget.
"Considering the sharp increase in the average wage we're currently seeing under inflation, it could be said that the target is a teacher salary of €2,000," Lukas said. "Because the average wage is already nearly €1,700. Whether it can be done in one year, two years, three years — that is what we'll be discussing."
The Estonian began discussing the state budget strategy and next year's state budget on Tuesday, and it was a topic of discussion at Thursday's cabinet meeting as well.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that they have not yet reached the point of serious disputes, and that the wage increased discussion yet lies ahead for the coalition.
"Of course we'll see wage pressure both in the private and public sectors, but we have to face up to what possibilities we have — how much it will be possible in state budget terms to increase wages," Kallas said. "We also need to ensure that while inflation is high, we don't drive up inflation even further. We're going to be in a very difficult situation if our high inflation meets a cooling of the economy, for which few good tools exist."
The government wants to submit next year's state budget to the Riigikogu by the end of September.
Editor: Aili Vahtla