The lower house of Parliament has passed a bill which will raise the salaries of judges and state attorneys. The bill, which sets a legal framework for the calculation of salaries in 2013, was passed under an accelerated mechanism known as legislative emergency, in view of the fact that the current system has been abolished by the Constitutional Court as of the end of the year. Under the draft proposal, which still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president, judges will receive 2.7 times the average wage in the public sector.
The speaker of the Czech lower house, Miroslava Němcová, has proposed what is known as a state of legislative emergency, in a bid to push through certain pieces of legislation by the end of the year. If approved by the relevant committees, the mechanism will allow one bill on judges’ salaries and another on the sKarta social welfare payment system to be passed in a single reading. It was last employed two years ago to push through a raft of cost-cutting measures.
Judges and prosecutors might not be receiving salaries as of next month due to a legislative snag. The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday failed to approve legislation which would, among other things, introduce new rules for the calculation of salaries. MPs voted down the bill because it would also tax their benefits. The Czech government is set to discuss the situation later on Wednesday. The current system of remunerating judges and prosecutors has been abolished by the Czech Constitutional Court as of the end of the year.
More Czech companies will lay off employees in the first quarter of 2013 than those planning to take on new staff according to a Manpower Labour Market Index poll conducted among 750 Czech firms. Only 3 percent of employers said they were hiring staff while 11 percent are planning lay-offs. 85 percent of respondents said they were not planning on significant changes in staff numbers. The report is the most pessimistic outlook in four years, a fact widely attributed to a fall in turnover due to dropping demand.
Twelve people, including three civil servants in the department of transport at the town hall in Kolín, central Bohemia, were arrested last week on suspicion of having legalised, on at least 44 counts, vehicles or parts from cars, stolen in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Two of the three civil servants have been remanded in custody. The police believe the system was facilitated by the three at city hall, in return for bribes. Those arrested, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years in prison. The police say the ring of suspects could still be broadened.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has announced significant concessions to the government’s S-card system streamlining social and welfare benefit payments that is to come into effect in January next year. In line with a fresh agreement reached with Ceska Sporitelna and the Czech Postal Service S-Cards will not be mandatory for payments and will only serve for identification purposes. Under the proposed amendment, people will be free to decide whether they want their benefits sent to the S-card account, a different account or by post.The only exemption concerns those suspected of exploiting the welfare benefits system.
The Czech ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský is planning to lodge a legal complaint against the system of checks for the unemployed called DONEZ, which will come into effect starting January. DONEZ requires people registered as unemployed to appear at public administration centers a few times a week. The measure is meant to prevent people who receive unemployment benefits from working illegally. Mr Varvařovský believes this constitutes an excessive encroachment on human dignity.
In Business News this week: Czech real wages continue to fall; few Czechs plan to join a new pension system; Qatar Airways and Korean Air are interested in acquiring Czech Airlines; apartment prices expected to decrease next year; Czech spas going through hard times, and Czech architects win competition to build monument to victims of slavery in Senegal.
According to official figures released on Tuesday, the average salary in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 24,514 in the third quarter of this year, representing an increase of 1.4 percent year-on-year. However, given that consumer prices grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter, wage-earners were worse off than in the same period in 2011. Analysts said they had not expected such a marked fall in real incomes.
The Czech government plans to keep community service for the unemployed
which was overturned last week by the country’s Constitutional Court, the
minister of labour and social affairs, Ludmila Müllerová said on Czech TV
on Sunday. To accommodate the objections of the court, the system might
undergo some minor changes, Ms Müllerová said. These could include the
prolongation of period after which the jobless are required to start
community service, and even a possibility of some salary being paid to
those who take part in the programme.
The Constitutional Court last week said the free yet compulsory community service for the unemployed, introduced by the Nečas government last year, was humiliating, in breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and also contradicted a ban on forced labour.
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