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The Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna replied to the interpellation concerning the redundancy of posts in the area of administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs (No. 91), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Dmitri Dmitrijev, Olga Ivanova, Peeter Ernits, Tarmo Tamm, Kadri Simson, Priit Toobal, Viktor Vassiljev, Lauri Laasi and Märt Sults on 29 October.

The interpellators noted that the social sphere is one of the most sensitive in the society. Therefore making people redundant in the area of administration of the Ministry of Social Affairs is a relatively risky step. The number of people to be made redundant, which is 235, was highlighted. The interpellators wished to know how the functioning and the quality of services of such an important sphere would be guaranteed after the redundancy.

Tsahkna explained: “We must indeed organise our work effectively. When we look at the scale of activities of the Ministry of Social Affairs, what a wide scale of affairs we are administering, then this cut is not infeasible but should rather be a model for other public sector organisations.” He underlined that the actual provision of the service as regards the provision of the state service would certainly not suffer.

Tsahkna said that, according to the Government’s decision, 235, or 2.1% of positions will be cut in the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs. He added for background that 11,179 people work in the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs, that is, this is the number of positions. The plan for cuts in the area of government of the Ministry of Social Affairs is based on the situation as at 1 June 2015, and the aim is to complete these cuts by 31 May 2016.

Tsahkna justified the Government’s decision with the aim of reducing the public sector. The population is decreasing and the public sector has grown. The Minister said that the Ministry of Social Affairs will not point out specific posts that will have to be eliminated. This will be for the relevant institutions to decide. According to Tsahkna’s explanations, the redundancy will be distributed between institutions under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Social Affairs, such as the Agency of Medicines, the Social Insurance Board, the Health Board, the Labour Inspectorate, the National Institute for Health Development, Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre and the E-Health Foundation. As regards hospitals, the Ministry of Social Affairs can make no reductions directly because they are foundations. Here the state can implement its ownership policy through the Ministry of Social Affairs. “We have agreed that, as to for example medical institutions, or people who are directly engaged in the servicing of patients, that is, doctors and nurses, this reduction will not concern them,” Tsahkna said. “We have to keep in mind that we have large medical institutions with a number of additional staff, in addition to the medical staff I mentioned earlier. It is possible to achieve the aim of the reduction by reviewing this number,” the Minister noted.

During the open microphone, Marika Tuus-Laul, Kadri Simson, Märt Sults, Tarmo Tamm, Mart Helme, Aadu Must, Peeter Ernits, Mailis Reps and Kersti Sarapuu took the floor.

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu

(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service

Gunnar Paal, 6316351, 51902837