Coalition lacks agreement over potential civil servant salary freeze

Ministry of Finance.
Ministry of Finance. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Reform, Eesti 200 and SDE have not reached a common agreement about freezing the salaries of civil servants next year, politicians said on Thursday.

Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) said this week that salaries are not expected to rise in the coming year. But Reform and SDE want to wait for the summer economic forecast before making a decision.

Kallas said a discussion about the issue was had during coalition negotiations this spring.

"This decision was actually made already during the coalition negotiations when we were dealing with budget concerns, and the decision was that the salaries of civil servants would not increase, they would definitely be frozen for next year at this year's level," said Kallas.

Kristina Kallas. Source: Government Office

The issue is more complicated when taking into account senior civil servants' wages as they are indexed by law.

"A solution needs to be found with them in the Riigikogu. This is not a decision made at the government level, it is a decision for the Riigikogu. If the Riigikogu finds that this indexation needs to be taken off, then the Riigikogu needs to do it," Kallas said.

MPs cannot freeze their own salaries because they can only make decisions related to the next Riigikogu.

SDE and Reform told Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" no decision has been reached.

Kalle Laanet (Reform). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said: "I don't think that's what we said. The minister of finance has said that no further applications can be made. This could mean that if additional money is needed for a pay rise, it cannot be tabled. I would wait for the summer economic forecast."

Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform): "We haven't discussed pay rises at all, at least not in the Ministry of Justice or at the government level. It's very much related to the economic forecasts. Personally, I think that if life in Estonia is going to get harder, it has to get harder for everyone, not just those who are not in the public sector."

It was not possible to get a comment from Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) as he is on vacation.

The coalition is looking to cut €50 million from next year's budget. Discussions will start in the autumn.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

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