STA, 22 October - Parliament backed on Tuesday legislative changes that raise the minimum net hourly rate for student work from EUR 4.13 to EUR 4.56. The opposition Left, which initiated the raise, had been pushing for more, but failed to get support from the coalition and remaining opposition parties, which fear businesses may have trouble handling the new rate.
After the minimum rate for student work, a flexible labour form much sought by employers, was first set only in 2015, the Left made additional regulation one of its conditions for its support to the minority government.
The party put forward its own proposal for changes to the fiscal balance act in July, proposing that the minimum gross rate be raised from EUR 4.89 to EUR 5.90.
The Left later lowered the figure to EUR 5.63, saying this was a compromise reached in negotiations with the coalition, only to see the coalition members of the Finance Committee reduce it further to EUR 5.40 or EUR 4.56 net.
Although voting in favour, coalition MPs also seemed reluctant to back the final figure in today's plenary vote, with Aljaž Kovačič of the senior coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) for instance arguing the raise - which will take effect on 1 January 2020 - could lead to more undeclared work and actually harm the students.
Soniboj Knežak of the coalition SocDems also argued more focus should be put on inspections "as opposed to measures that could destroy student work" and Mojca Žnidarič of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) criticised the Left for drawing up its proposal without consulting the ministry.
The opposition National Party (SNS) party voted in favour, arguing the raise was only symbolic, New Slovenia (NSi) said it would not oppose the raise while warning the rate needed to calculated so as not to disrupt the market, while the Democrats (SDS) said they could not support it but would also not oppose it.
"For many companies, especially those outside of central Slovenia this means a substantial additional cost. It could happen that this will lead to significant decree in the amount of student work," the SDS's Suzana Lep Šimenko said.
The Left's Miha Kordiš begged to differ, arguing the competitive edge of student work lie not in the hourly rate but in its flexibility. He also called for a comprehensive plan that will make sure "no student's mere survival will depend on them accepting underpaid and indecently precarious labour".