On Monday, the Constitutional Court (SC) initiated a case regarding the compliance of the increase in medical salaries specified in the 2020 budget with the basic state law.
The case will assess the compliance with the Satversme of the programs and sub-programs of the Law “On the State Budget for 2020” for increasing the salaries of health care workers, insofar as they do not provide for state funding for raising the salaries of health care workers in 2020.
The court explained that Paragraph 11 of the Transitional Provisions of the Health Care Financing Law stipulates that the Cabinet of Ministers, when preparing the draft law on the state budget for 2019 and the draft law on the medium-term budget framework for 2019, 2020 and 2021, envisages state funding for health care workers. to increase the average annual salary by 20%, ie in 2019 – 87,483,708 euros, in 2020 – 191,227,820 euros and in 2021 – 314,599,953 euros.
The case was initiated upon the Ombudsman’s application. The Applicant has referred to Paragraph 11 of the Transitional Provisions of the Health Care Financing Law, which stipulates financing for increasing the salaries of health care employees, which has had to be provided by the Cabinet of Ministers when preparing a draft law on the medium-term budget framework for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The Ombudsman has pointed out that in accordance with the Law “On the State Budget for 2020”, only a part – about half – of the promised additional financing has been allocated for the increase of the salary of medical practitioners. Therefore, the contested programs and sub-programs of the Law “On the State Budget for 2020”, which determine the amount of state funding in the field of health care, do not comply with the principle of rule of law and the principle of legal certainty derived from the basic norm of a democratic state governed by the rule of law.
In the opinion of the Applicant, the Contested Regulation creates a significant threat to the interests of the state and society. Such regulation does not comply with the duty of the legislator arising from Article 66 of the Satversme to ensure the development and adoption of a sustainable state budget, thus the principle of sustainable development is also violated.
ST has invited the Saeima to submit a reply to the court by October 5 with a statement of the factual circumstances of the case and a legal substantiation.
The deadline for preparation of the case is January 4, 2021. The court shall decide on the type and date of the proceedings after the preparation of the case.
LETA has already reported that the decision adopted by the Saeima last year to increase the salaries of doctors in 2020 envisaged 120 million euros, which would allow raising the salaries of those working in the sector by an average of 20%. However, the coalition, acknowledging that the adoption of such a law was a mistake, because no financial resources were provided, managed to find only about half of the necessary money for medical salaries.
Politicians agreed to use this money, increasing the minimum wage for residents by 20% and for other medical personnel by 10%.
At the beginning of June, medical professional organizations called on the government to decide to increase salaries by 10% already this year, and by 20% next year. This position was expressed by the Latvian Medical Association, the Latvian Nurses ‘Association and the Latvian Young Doctors’ Association.
The Minister of Health Ilze Hänķele (AP) said at a press conference on June 30 that uncertainty about how and at what speed the economy will recover from the Covid-19 crisis does not allow us to say with confidence that this year it will be possible to increase doctors’ salaries by 10%.