Since the protests in February 2014. one of the issues that has been in the public eye is the politicians’ “white bread”, which means the possibility that MPs, ministers and their deputies can receive full salary up to 12 months after the end of their term. First steps towards the abolition of this privilege were made in Tuzla Canton in March 2014, when, under pressure from protesters, activists and the plenum, delegates in TK Assembly modified this Law. A few days ago, delegates in the BiH Parliament adopted the Draft of Law on Amendments to the Law on Salaries and Allowances. This proposal will delete Article 48 of this Law, which regulates the right to receive “compensation during extended employment status of elected and appointed officials”, known as the “white bread”.
Adoption of this amendment doesn’t change the fact that MPs from the last term, who are not elected to a function after the elections in 2014, still have the right to use these privileges.
It is interesting to see how expensive it will be for the following period.
In the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina the “white bread” was requested by 16 delegates. Delegates of the BiH Parliament have a base wage of 475,69 KM while their ratio is 8,4, which amounts to 3.999,75 KM per month per delegate. Adding up all these fees, 16 former delegates will receive a total of 767.192,82 KM for 12 months.
According to information Istinomjer received from RS National Assembly, 24 delegates asked for the “white bread” after the end of their term, which, with an average salary of 2.550 KM amounts to 734.400 KM for 12 months.
The average salary of MPs in the FBiH Parliament is about 3.000 KM, and since 45 delegates asked for the “white bread”, citizens of BiH will pay 1.62 million KM for the salaries of these delegates in the following year.
Istinomjer team also requested information on the number of MPs who asked for “white bread” in the cantonal assemblies, as well as for data on average salaries of MPs in the assemblies. Responses were not received from the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton and Canton 10, while the Una-Sana and Central Bosnia Canton did not give information about the salaries of MPs, although requests were sent more than two months ago. So for these cantons we used the average salary of MPs from Bosnia-Podrinje Canton, since it is the lowest average salary of MPs in the country.
In contrast to the state and entity, cantonal officials are entitled to compensation for up to 6 months after the end of term, with some differences in regulations in individual cantons.
In Tuzla Canton none of the delegates asked for “white bread” because last year the TK Assembly abolished this privilege. BPK and SBK have the most delegates who requested this privilege, 10 in each canton, which multiplied by the average salary of members of assembly of 1.152 KM, amounts to 138.240 KM for both cantons.
Three members of the Posavina Canton Assembly requested this privilege, which means that they will earn 21.600 KM in six months, since the salaries of delegates in the PK Assembly are 1.200 KM. In Zenica-Doboj Canton Assembly professionalization of MPs is not possible. Only the Chairman of the Cantonal Assembly can professionalize his mandate and have the privilege of the “white bread”. He requested this right, and he will earn 9.000 KM in the next six months.
Two representatives in the Una-Sana Canton Assembly requested to receive “white bread”, while in the Sarajevo Canton, this privilege was requested by three members of the Assembly. In that way former delegates of the two cantonal assemblies will receive 39.657,60 KM over the next six months.
In Western-Herzegovina Canton five members of the Assembly requested to use the “white bread”. Since salaries of assembly delegates in this Canton are 1.348 KM they will receive 40.440 KM for six months.
Former MPs in the Federation of BiH will earn 1.868.937 KM, on the BiH level 767.192,82 KM, and in Republika Srpska 734.400 KM over the next year by using this unnecessary privilege.
If we add up these figures, we can conclude that former parliamentarians will take an additional 3.370.529,82 KM from citizens, even though citizens fired them in October 2014. This figure is even greater since two cantons did not provide information to Istinomjer. To put things in perspective, we note that this amount is equal to 4.095 average salaries in BiH.
It is important to mention that the deputies will be privileged even after they retire, as the delegate’s salaries are significantly higher than those in other sectors, which will have a direct impact on the amount of their pensions after they retire.