The allowances given to employees in hospitals belonging to the health association (WIGEV) in Vienna are being increased.
Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) announced this at a press conference on Friday, attended by responsible members of the city administration as well as WIGEV and union representatives. The measures are planned to come into force from 1 February 2024 and an additional 150 million euros will be provided for this purpose.
Vienna hospitals: More money for all professions
As emphasized, there will be more money not only for doctors, but for all professional groups. Allowances for Sunday and public holiday services will be increased. Night duty pay and bonuses for being willing to step in for colleagues who are unable to work will also be improved.
A training offensive was also announced. For example, the number of training positions will be increased in health and nursing fields or in senior medical-technical services. The quota of training periods for health professionals will also be expanded. Doctors will also have access to a “further training allowance” of 1,000 euros.
The steps presented today are the first phase of the staffing package. Another is to follow. Then you want to pay more attention to salary plans. According to Municipal Health Councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ), comparisons were also made with other hospital providers in Austria. Result: “We are below average.”
But he emphasized that it is often difficult to compare the situation. Basic salary is lower, but there is a ban on secondary employment in other federal states; In Germany and Switzerland there are only twelve salaries. Hacker said the new plan still requires in-depth discussions, so the change will only be made in the second phase.
Fixed changes in allowances and bonuses
But changes in allowances and bonuses have already been fixed. The surcharge on Sundays and public holidays increases from 13.50 euros to 18.50 euros per hour for doctors, and from 4.65 euros to 10 euros per hour for other professional groups. WIGEV Managing Director Evelyn Kölldorfer-Leitgeb presented calculations of the overall impact of the change.
For example, those affected in the nursing sector can earn around 450 euros more gross per month. A telephone operator costs about 550 euros more. According to WIGEV, doctors in the shortage specialization can expect an increase of around 870 euros.
Christian Meidlinger, from the union where the package was discussed, said it was important not to reduce the measures to a single professional group. Meidlinger also noted that uptime models will be looked at later. This could lead to shortened working hours in some areas, he said.
Ludwig: “All this shows that we take social partnership seriously”
Mayor Ludwig stated that motivated staff, who are paid according to their performance, are the cornerstone of healthcare services in Vienna. “All this shows that we take social partnership seriously,” he said. But the representation of medical professionals was not a speaking partner, as Councilor Hacker explained: “The medical fraternity played no role.”
He immediately made it clear that he considered this a failure. It was determined in the reaction sent to APA that the measures were insufficient. “Maybe the city is talking to the wrong people,” speculated Stefan Ferenci, head of the Curia’s staff doctors. Except for junior doctors in shortage areas, there is “not a penny” extra in basic salary. This is not a big package.
It’s good that something has been thought of for maintenance. However, the chamber representative complained that the actual salary was not increased there either. This makes the system unattractive. Ferenci pointed out that the goal should be to fill many open positions.
The Vienna ÖVP also decided that the package was inadequate. This may only be a “first step,” health spokeswoman Ingrid Korosec said in a release. This cannot replace far-reaching reforms. “There’s still a lot to do here.” He called for the involvement of the opposition in the next stage, where the problems of the future will be discussed “without taboos”, as Hacker stated earlier in the press conference.
The Vienna Greens’ conclusion is that, in the words of party leader Judith Pühringer, “Too little, too late.” “Vienna’s city government continues to default in key areas.” What is needed, he demanded in a press release, are long-overdue cuts in working hours and an increase in basic salaries for nurses and doctors.