The government has cut 800 civil service jobs

Petr Hloušek

Even though the government has cut hundreds of civil servant positions, as Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) confirmed in its program declaration, it has postponed the deadline for analyzing the activities of individual ministries until the end of 2023. This is linked to further possible redundancies that the ruling parties have long been committed to. Before the redundancies, the Czech Republic had over 76,000 civil servants, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior.

“In the first year of the government, we were able to reduce the number of civil servants by more than 800,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said. This is also evident from the statistics of the Interior Ministry, which collects the data.

In practice, according to people close to the government, this means that the number of civil servants had fallen to the level of 2015 when Bohuslav Sobotka (ex-ČSSD) was at the head of the cabinet.

For example, 53 positions were eliminated at the Health Ministry. “These were mainly related to projects terminated last year,” Health Ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob said.

“This represents a saving of CZK 8 900 100 in salaries,” said Veronika Hešíková from the press department. For example, the Environment Ministry saved ten jobs and CZK 5.5 million.

Compared to 1 July, the Ministry of the Interior has lost 156 table posts since January. “The ministry currently has 2,982 posts,” said spokeswoman Hana Malá. In this case, however, it should be added that the number is still several dozen higher than before the war in Ukraine.

Analysis of state agendas postponed due to the war

Hundreds of posts have been canceled by the individual ministries, and further possible dismissals could take place after an analysis of the plans of the respective ministries. However, the government has postponed its deadline to the end of 2023 as part of its program statement.

The reason for this, according to Novosti, is the war in Ukraine, as the analysis is in charge of the Interior Ministry, which has been handling the arrival of thousands of war refugees. “Based on an inventory of all state agencies by the end of 2023, we will present concrete plans to reduce the number of civil servant posts,” the program statement now reads.

“Steps leading to the slimming down and streamlining of the state will also be part of the upcoming package of consolidation measures that the finance minister plans to present to the government during the spring,” the prime minister said.

However, the eight hundred jobs eliminated so far are relatively small compared to all the employees. A study by the National Budget Council showed that 880,000 people worked full-time for the state in 2021, of which 464,000 were paid from the state budget.

Of these, over 76 thousand were direct state employees in 2021, roughly 17 percent of all state employees and 9 percent of all public sector employees.

13 percent promised by the Together coalition

Cuts were also one of the pre-election themes of the Together coalition (ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09). The team promised to reduce the number of civil servants by 13 %, less than 10 000 positions.

However, this commitment was not in the original program statement or the revised one presented by the cabinet last week.

“We will abolish unnecessary bureaucratic tasks and streamline necessary services,” it only says now.