All of the above-mentioned was abolished or restricted due to the crisis with the Fiscal Balance Act. However, despite the current favorable economic conditions, a number of measures are still in place. For example, the Fiscal Balance Act has permanently cut the free kindergarten for a second child measure. In the past years, with that measure, the state did save around 25 million euros. Many others benefits available before the crisis have also become history now, even though Slovenia's economy is almost at a five percent growth.
The lowered maternity allowance amounting to 90% of a mother's salary is still in force. In that way the state has managed to save around 120 million euros so far. The state also enforced restrictions on the large family allowance saving eight million euros, and has saved six million euros by cutting the state gifts for all newborns. Next year, those with incomes up to 1.019 euros per family member, will once again be eligible for child benefits. In this case the state has saved a good 100 million euros so far.
At the time when Slovenia faced its highest unemployment rate, it also cut sick leave allowances for the unemployed, as that would have cost the state around 44 million euros. This measure is permanent.
There will be no more austerity measures when it comes to pensioners. The previous restrictions to additional pension allowances helped the state save 243 million euros. According to the Ministry of Labour, the state saved an additional 390 million euros by not harmonizing pensions with price increases. Alimonies and social transfers are still bot being harmonized.
A change of social policies
"We see that some of the measures will never return, while other might return after a long period. But the impression is that the crisis was used, or even taken advantage of, in order to make changes in the country's social politics," says the Dean of the Faculty of Social Work, Vesna Leskošek.
Making cuts was simple, returning the benefits will need a lot of harmonizing, acknowledges Martina Vuk, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour: "We insisted that the austerity measures, in our area, be temporary, and will probably be amended in the year 2019."
The measures at the time mostly affected the most vulnerable and middle class. "The other effects of the crisis could mostly be seen in the middle class with the loss of jobs, pay cuts, inability to get promoted, and if we put all that together, that's the population which paid the highest price. The generation in the most active period of their lives with small children, which is extremely important for our future," adds Vuk.
It is difficult to assess the effect of all the measures, but a quick glance at all the measures we mentioned above does point towards a figure of one billion euros, which the state did manage to save.