Changes to employment terms – particulars

The board wants to ensure that all employment terms in the union offices, including salaries, are fair and competitive. There also needs to be transparancy around the determination of salaries and it needs to be based on clear reasons that stand up to scrutiny.

The board finds that the salary determination of jobs in the Efling offices has until now been too haphazard. Salaries have been composed of various extra payments of varying amounts without consistency or clear justifications that stand up to scrutiny. Inconsistency in employment terms has been an obstacle in the running of the office and will furthermore make it difficult for the Efling office to pass the gender equality pay certification of the government, which needs to be completed before the end of 2022.

With this in mind, the following changes will be made to the employment terms of all Efling office staff and tied into new employment contracts and/or staff handbook.

  • There will no longer be bonuses or other additional payments determined on an individual level on top of base salaries as has been the case (e.g. “bonus for special assignments”, “division head bonus” etc.). Instead such payments will be incorporated into regular salaries as appropriate (see below).
  • Unworked permanent overtime pay, which was part of salaries of nearly all staff, will be discontinued entirely and permanent overtime pay only permitted in the cases of managers and specialist on condition that it appears to be in fact worked. Instead these payments will be incorporated into regular salaries as appropriate.
  • The arrangement of paying all staff a car allowance for up to 400 km of driving each month, even in cases where the staff member does not own a car and does not drive to work, will be discontinued. Car allowance will only be paid when there is actual reason and with a special agreement. This benefit will be incorporated into regular salaries as appropropriate.
  • Efforts will be made to ensure nutritious food for staff during work hours for a reasonable price. Nevertheless, free lunch for staff will be discontinued and instead a moderate subsidy will be introduced or other solution found. This will be taken into account when re-determining salaries.
  • With these changes it will be possible to abolish the lack of transparency regarding how salaries were determined through various extra payments and benefits as described above. Instead, base salaries (incl. permanent overtime where applicable – see below) will after the change be determined within the framework of a salary system which sets boundaries for regular base salaries for each job title. Each job title will receive a predetermined mininum and maximum salary setting, which locates the job on a scale in comparison with other job titles. Salaries will not be negotiated on an individual level beyond thouse boundaries.
  • The general reference point for salary determination is competitive salaries for a similar job title in the private job sector. General development of wages will be followed.
  • The goal of the changes is not to achieve a lowering of salaries, but to ensure that salaries reflect responsibility, experience, and qualifications in a transparent way. Salaries should be fair and competitive.
  • With the new salary system, the novelty will be introduced that a certain maximum proportion will be decided between the highest and lowest salaries (referring to regular total salaries incl. permanent overtime pay). This proportion will never be more than 5/2. This is done in order to act against unexplained inequality of salaries between staff and show in practice how a more moderate salary difference can be achieved than is the case in most companies and institutions.
  • Incidental overtime work of staff will become an exception and the organization of work will be set accordingly. This is consistent with the increasing demand of shortening the work week. Incidental overtime work needs to have been undertaken with the approval or at the request of the next superior.
  • In the case of staff who need to attend to previously organized tasks outside of daytime hours (e.g. meetings and events with members in the evenings) the work will be paid in accordance with the definitions and calculations of the collective contract of VR and SA. An agreement will be offered whereby extra work will be compensated in the form of time off during daytime hours, as per article 2.1.8 of the VR-SA contract.
  • Permanent overtime pay as part of employment terms of general staff will be discontinued and only be part of the employment terms of specialists and managers. This is consistent with demand for shortening of the work week among general staff; notably the work week has twice been shortened in the Efling office in the last years. It will be monitored in the Tímon timestamp app how much overtime is in fact undertaken by staff who have permanent overtime pay, and permanent overtime pay will be reviewed accordingly.
  • The union membership of staff will amended in correspondance to the nature of the job in question and the relevant collective contract. This is consistent with the general position of Icelandic unions and the labor movement regarding what counts as correct union membership. This means that most staff at the Efling office, who are engaged in office work, will be members of VR. The collective contract of VR with SA will cover their employment terms concerning e.g. vacation, sickness benefits, severance period, length of the work week, food breaks etc.
  • The length of the work week will be in accordance with the collective contract of VR and/or other unions in the private job market. This will be implemented in accordance with the needs of the operation within the framework set by collective contracts.