51st regular meeting of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
The government adopted a proposal for the amendment to the Pension and Disability Insurance Act and a resolution on pension indexation. It decided that the eligible costs of interventions during windstorms in north-eastern Slovenia are to be reimbursed to the municipalities.
Amendments to the Pension and Disability Insurance Act lead to greater social security for certain groups of pensioners
The government determined the text of the proposed Act Amending the Pension and Disability Insurance Act, which is to be sent to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia for consideration in accordance with the ordinary procedure.
The main solutions of the proposed Act:
- Change in the calculation of the pension rating base
The proposed Act changes the method of calculating the pension rating base upon retirement in cases when the insured person received partial disability benefit due to part-time work pursuant to the provisions of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia-2, or partial invalidity pension pursuant to the provisions of the Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia-1.
According to the proposal, partial disability benefit due to part-time work pursuant to the provisions of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia-2, and partial invalidity pension pursuant to the provisions of the Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia-1, are to be considered for the calculation of the pension rating base for insured persons who received the specified benefit, or partial invalidity pension, by taking into account wages, benefits or insurance bases which would apply to the insured persons if they were working full-time. The calculation is to be carried out considering information concerning the bases of the insured person, which refer to part-time work, taking into account the number of hours of full-time work for the periods for which the specified benefits from disability insurance were paid.
- Introduction of the institute of guaranteed bereavement allowance
The proposed Act introduces the institute of guaranteed bereavement allowance as an additional social element within the pension and disability insurance system. The institute is intended for all widows or widowers who are entitled to their early, old-age or disability pension, in addition to the bereavement allowance. The amount of the guaranteed bereavement allowance will be equal to the amount of the guaranteed pension, and will be adjusted in the same way as pensions. The measure reduces the risk of social exclusion of part of this population group.
- Provision of data to the Compulsory Insurance Institute
The proposed Act gives the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute a legal basis for the exchange of data managed by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia in accordance with the Act governing long-term care and the Act governing the cross-border provision of services, as well as data from the occupational accidents and injuries notification form, which it, as an operator or processor, processes in its information system with regard to the reports of occupational accidents and injuries. Moreover, in order to determine insurance obligations, the Institute needs a legal basis for the exchange of data with the Ministry of Health, namely from the Central Population Register and the Register of Foreigners, as well as for the exchange of data related to applications, cancellations and insurance changes that are stored in the Central Electronic Storage of the System for Support to Business Entities (SPOT). The proposal thus regulates the legal basis for the exchange of the indicated data.
- Funding of the Institute for Economic Research
The proposed Act introduces the possibility of minimum necessary budget financing for the maintenance and updating of IER microsimulation models intended for planning and formulation of policies in the field of pension and disability insurance, the labour market and social transfers.
- Financial consequences
According to the Institute's data, the proposed amendment to the Act will cover approx. 1,500 beneficiaries of partial benefits or partial invalidity pensions. Most of the aforementioned beneficiaries receive the benefit for part-time work (4 hours/day). The average benefit of these beneficiaries is EUR 400, which means that their gross salary amounts to EUR 1,900, or their net salary amounts to EUR 1,270, whereby the latter represents the pension rating base. The estimate of the necessary funds thus amounts to approx. EUR 4 million per year.
Based on data from December 2013, the Institute estimated that the difference in pensions will be paid out up to the amount of the guaranteed bereavement allowance for approx. 8,679 beneficiaries, which would mean an additional payment of EUR 690 thousand per month or EUR 8.3 million per year.
Based on the Institute's estimates, the proposed amendment to the Act will affect the use of budget funds, as additional funds in the estimated amount of approx. EUR 12.3 million per year will need to be covered by additional funding from the state budget.
The government adopted a decision on pension indexation
The government does not give its consent to the Decision of the Council of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia no. 9000-4/2022/4-6 of 22 September 2022 and to the Decision of the Council of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia no. 9000-4/2023/6-2 of 27 February 2023 for the implementation of an extraordinary pension indexation.
The improvement of the financial situation of pensioners is ensured by the following measures:
- In November and December this year and in January 2024, pensioners and recipients of benefits from disability insurance are to receive 1.8 percent higher pensions or benefits. Thereby, the beneficiaries of a guaranteed old-age pension with a full pension period will receive a payment of EUR 700 by the end of the year.
- A guaranteed bereavement allowance institute will be introduced for all widows or widowers who are entitled to their early, old-age or disability pension, in addition to the bereavement allowance; the guaranteed bereavement allowance will amount to at least as much as the guaranteed old-age pension. The amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2024.
- When assessing pensions for disabled workers who worked part-time, the income they would receive if they worked full-time is to be considered as a rating basis. The measure will apply to disabled people who are to retire from 1 January 2024.
- In December 2023, in addition to the annual grant, pensioners and recipients of benefits from disability insurance will receive a one-off allowance in the form of a winter annual grant, which will amount to 40 percent of the annual grant.
The government issued a decree increasing the prices of electronic tolling (e-vignette) from 15 June 2023
The Decree on Toll Roads and Tolls specifies toll roads in the Republic of Slovenia, toll-rate category for toll payment, the selling price of e-vignettes, the issuer of e-vignettes and other issues related to tolling with e-vignettes.
With the adopted Decree on Toll Roads and Tolls, the prices of e-vignettes are to be increased for vehicles with a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3,500 kg (i.e. vehicles of the first toll-rate category, second A and second B toll-rate category).
The price increase of e-vignettes (including VAT) amounts to 6.8 percent, which is the result of indexation for the reference periods from 2017 to 2022, when the condition for indexation was met; however, the selling prices of e-vignettes did not change. The legal basis is provided by the Road Tolling Act, which stipulates the harmonisation of toll prices for the use of toll roads for vehicles with a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3,500 kg with the consumer price index in the Republic of Slovenia. Harmonisation is to be carried out if in the period January-December of the previous year, the consumer price index exceeds the index of 100, compared to the same period the year before.
DARS, d.d. estimates that until the end of 2023, based on the proposed increase in the prices of e-vignettes by 6.8 percent as of 15 June 2023, additional revenue from the sale of e-vignettes would amount to EUR 5.3 million, assuming that the volume of sales remains the same as in the second half of 2022; EUR 14.6 million of additional revenue is to be collected on an annual basis.
Reimbursement of costs of interventions during windstorms to municipalities in north-eastern Slovenia
From 16 to 23 May 2023, a large-scale natural disaster in north-eastern Slovenia affected several municipalities, which depleted the funds of the municipal budgets intended to provide basic living conditions and eliminate the consequences of natural and other disasters, in accordance with the provisions of the Protection Against Natural and Other Disasters Act.
At the meeting, the government decided to reimburse the eligible costs of interventions to the municipalities listed in Annex no. 1, and to provide funds in the amount of EUR 1,779,061 to the Ministry of Defence, namely the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, in order to cover the indicated intervention costs. Based on the claims of the affected municipalities, the Ministry of Defence, namely the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, will reimburse the costs of the intervention, which are proven by authentic documents, but not more than the estimated value for each local community listed in Annex no. 1.
Due to the heavy rainfall with incessant downpours between 16 and 23 May 2023, which caused landslides and the flooding of watercourses in the areas of the eastern Štajerska, Podravje, Pomurje, Dolenjska and Posavije regions, the units and services in the Civil Protection Service within municipal, regional and state jurisdictions, including material resources, were activated for several days, in order to provide rescue, assistance and other support. Protection included organisational, technical and other measures, and the use of technical and other means for direct personal and group protection of people, animals, property, cultural heritage and the environment against the consequences of a natural disaster. Several hundred triggered landslides threatened infrastructure, and residential and other facilities, and degraded agricultural and other areas. The assistance included the measures and services of experts, rescue units, the use of protective and rescue equipment and aid resources.
Based on data from local communities, the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief has drawn up a summary table of estimated intervention costs. The estimate does not include the costs of firefighters or other rescue units, the costs of equipment, nor the costs of eliminating the consequences of a natural disaster, for which a special damage estimate will be drawn up.
The government adopted the amendment of the investment programme for the "Second track of the Divača-Koper railway line" project
The government, as the founder and sole shareholder of 2TDK, Družba za razvoj projekta, d.o.o., adopted the second amendment of the investment programme for the Second track of the Divača-Koper railway line project. The decision is made based on the second paragraph of Article 11 of the Act Regulating the Construction, Operation and Management of the Second Track of the Divača-Koper Railway Line, which stipulates that the investment programme for the implementation of the investment in the second track is to be adopted at the company's Annual General Meeting.
In January 2019, an investment programme (IP) was drawn up for the second track construction project, and in April 2021, an amendment to the investment programme (NIP1) was made. Since specific assumptions (significant increases in the prices of construction materials, raw materials and energy products, the time plan of the execution, the capital of the supporting state is no longer provided) have changed in the interim period (from the confirmation of NIP1 to today), the investor of the project, 2TDK, decided to join the second amendment of the investment programme.
The price increases will affect the investment value of the project, as well as already concluded existing contracts; the price increase will particularly affect the execution of tenders and the conclusion of future contracts, especially the subcontracting under Lot 3.
The main changes in NIP2 (final version - May 2023) include the project timeline and the investment value. At current prices, the investment value of the project is now estimated at EUR 1,109 million, and has decreased by 3.5% compared to the value under the core investment programme, and increased by 18% compared to NIP1. The completion of construction works is expected at the end of 2025 (the same as in IP and NIP1). Moreover, in the subject document, the capital of the supporting state is no longer envisaged for the provision of resources. The economic IRR amounting to 8.36% is also higher.
The second amendment to the investment programme for the Divača-Koper railway line project (NIP2) was already discussed at the 35th regular meeting of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia on 2 February 2023, at which the government, as the founder and sole shareholder of 2TDK, adopted a resolution discontinuing the consideration of NIP2, due to the need for additional verification of the relevance of the envisaged project implementation timeline, the reasons for reducing the reserves for unforeseen expenses (without unforeseen works), and the relevance of the method of calculating changes in the investment value.