The Human Rights Ombudsman Dr Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik wants to point out the following facts less known to the public on the reporting of state officials’ salaries:
At the meeting on 27 September 2007, the General Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia confirmed the official consolidated text of the Salary System in the Public Sector Act (ZSPJS-UPB7), Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No 95/2007. The act was prepared by the Ministry of Public Administration led by Minister Dr Gregor Virant.
Among other things, the act specified the classification of officials into salary grades (Annex 3), in which the legislator on the proposal by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia entirely arbitrarily, without reasonable and objective grounds, classified the functions of Human Rights Ombudsman and his/her deputy into lower salary grades - the Ombudsman’s function is classified into the salary grade lower by two grades than before, while the Deputy Ombudsman’s function into the salary grade lower by four grades (the Ombudsman's function was reclassified from the 65th salary grade to the 63rd grade, and the Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman’s function from the 59th salary grade to the 55th grade). Legal regulation, which applied until ZSPJS-UPB7 entered into force, specified that the Ombudsman’s salary is in the amount of the Constitutional Court President’s salary, and the salary of his deputies in the amount of Constitutional Court judge’s salary (Article 47 of the Human Rights Ombudsman Act). According to the new salary system the Constitutional Court judge's salary increased by three grades (to the 62nd grade), and the salary of Deputy Ombudsman lowered by four salary grades (to the 55th grade), which results in the difference of seven grades for previously equal functions or salary grades of a Constitutional Court judge and Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman. Similar increases of salary grades occurred also in the case of Ministers (executive authority) and the State Prosecutor General. The lowering of the basic salary/grade of the officials of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia will be followed by the lowering of salaries on the account of reduced seniority supplement, explained Minister Dr Virant, who, like other Ministers, is classified into the highest grade foreseen for the Ministers (in the salary range between the 62nd and the 64th grade). State Secretaries are also classified into the highest possible salary grade.
In the newly established relations the question arises regarding the performance of the supervisory function of the Human Rights Ombudsman, whose position in the state officials’ hierarchy (for now mostly salary) was severely changed by current legislation.
The Human Rights Ombudsman pointed out to Minister Virant that the new classification into salary grades enables that the civil servants’ salaries outrun the salaries of officials. This actually makes the work of the Office of Human Rights Ombudsman more difficult, because it makes impossible to place capable experts on the positions of officials (they would rather accept better paid work positions with possibilities of additional income). Lower salaries of officials also mean lower salaries of employees or fewer possibilities for their advancement on the pay scale. The Human Rights Ombudsman sees this kind of change of the law as a very clear attempt by the current government to reduce the authority of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman. She also assesses that the pay reform encroaches on the constitutionally defined relations between state authorities and establishes discrimination between individual officials. That is why the Ombudsman will submit the request for constitutional review of the contested provisions of the Salary System in the Public Sector Act.