Civil Servants Sued BiH Ministry of Finances and Treasury

At least 130 employees of the state government institutions residing in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) have filed lawsuits against the BiH Ministry of Finances and Treasury for having received smaller salaries than their Republika Srpska (RS) colleagues during 22 months.

The trial is scheduled for June 6 of this year.

Lawsuits were filed during 2009 and 2010 by the employees of the BiH Ministry of Defense, BiH Joint Affairs Department, BiH Labor and Employment Agency and the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency.

The claimants say they are discriminated because income tax was deducted from net salaries, while their RS colleagues had their income tax paid from budget. They have received decreased salaries from Dec 1, 2008 to Sept 2010.

According to the Law on Salaries and Allowances in the BiH Institutions those who are doing the same or similar jobs should have the same base pay – equal pay for equal work.

However, the Ministry of Finances started applying different standards when calculating the base pay in Dec 2008. For this reason, those from the FBiH received on average 65 KM a month smaller salary than their RS colleagues.

The officials from the BiH Ministry of Finances and Treasury say that, if the ruling goes the way of 130 employees, then other employees who work in the state administration with a place of residence in the FBiH might claim the pay difference in court.

There are nearly 14,000 state employees from the FBiH, and to pay their salary difference, the state budget should allocated between 10 and 12 million KM, say the ministry officials.

Audit office of the Institutions of BiH wrote in its 2009 report on the audit of BiH Ministry of Finances and Treasury that calculating the base pay in two different ways violates the legal principle – equal pay for equal work.

After the report was published, the Finance Ministry started paying equal salaries to all employees, a deputy chief auditor Dževad Nekić told the reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN).

Jure Bilić, the president of the Independent Union of State and Police Officials and Employees in BiH, said that the ministry admitted the mistake when it equalized the pay.

Fuad Kasumović, deputy BiH finance and treasury minister, said that this was a discrimination of the employees from the FBiH.

In Jan 2009, Kasumović said, he asked the then Council of Ministers headed by Nikola Špirić, to right this, but he never received an answer.

CIN recently reported about at least 500 private lawsuits of the state employees filed against the state because of illegal decrease of the base pay.

Civil Servants Sued Government over Pay Difference

The lawsuits read that the BiH Council of Ministers has illegally decreased the base pay for the employees in the state institutions for 27 KM a month, starting July 2009. BiH Council of Minister’s resolution cut the employees’ salary base from 535.50 KM to 498.10 KM. The decision has been applied since July 2009.

According to law, the Council of Ministers may decrease the base salary if it establishes that the country is in the state of economic instability. However, the base has to be decided upon every year.

Lawsuits were filed by individual employees of the Indirect Taxation Authority in BiH, BiH Parliamentary Assembly, State Investigation and Protection Agency, Ministry of Defense, Border Police, the System of Unique Personal ID and the Agency for Labor and Employment in BiH.