A case initiated with respect to provisions that prohibit teachers from applying for evaluation of the quality of their professional activities and decrease the amount of supplement payment for quality level
On 20 April 2017 the 4th Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated case “On Compliance of Para 91 of the Cabinet Regulation of 17 June 2014 No. 350 “Procedure for Evaluating Professional Activities of Teachers” with Article 1, 64 and 91 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia and with the First and the Third Part of Section 491 of Education Law, and of Para 27 of the Cabinet Regulation of 5 July 2016 No. 445 “Regulation on Remuneration for Teachers’ Work” with Article 1 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.
Para 91 of the Cabinet Regulation of 17 June 2014 No. 350 “Procedure for Evaluating Professional Activities of Teachers” (hereinafter – Regulation No. 350): “A teacher, who has not been awarded a quality level until 31 May 2016 or a teacher, whose certificate of quality degree expires in the period from 31 May 2016 to 31 August 2018, shall have the right to apply for evaluation of the quality of teachers’ professional activities not earlier than 1 September 2018. Applications submitted by teachers before 31 August 2018 shall not be examined.”
Para 27 of the Cabinet Regulation of 5 July 2016 No. 445 “Regulation on Remuneration for Teachers’ Work” (hereinafter – Regulation No. 445): “Teachers, who have been awarded the 3rd, 4th and 5th quality level of professional activities (hereinafter – quality level) shall be granted a surplus payment in the amount of 45 euro, 114 euro and 140 euro respectively for one teacher’s rate of pay proportionally to the number of rated classes, but to educational psychologist, teacher – speech therapist and special teacher – proportionally to the rated workload. To directors of institutions of general education, institutions of vocational education, as well as institutions of interest-related education and their deputies, heads of structural units in the field of education, education methodologists, organisers of sports activities, deputy directors in charge of methodological work and methodologists of institutions of pre-school education the surplus payment for the quality level shall be granted proportionally to that teacher’s workload, for which the quality level has been acquired in the procedure established by regulatory enactments, without taking into account the salary for their position.”
Norms of Higher Legal Force
Article 1 of the Satversme: “Latvia is an independent democratic republic.”
Article 64 of the Satversme: “The Saeima, and also the people, have the right to legislate, in accordance with the procedures, and to the extent, provided for by this Constitution.”
Article 91 of the Satversme: “All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts. Human rights shall be realised without discrimination of any kind.”
The first part of Section 491 of Education Law: “A teacher whose pedagogical experience is not less than one year and who participates in implementation of general educational programmes, including in the pre-school education level of general educational programmes, in the basic education or secondary education level of vocational education programmes, in implementation of vocationally oriented education or interest education programmes, has the right to, not less than once every five years, receive a quality assessment of professional activity of a teacher.”
The third part of Section 491 of Education Law: “The institutions referred to in Paragraph two of this Section shall take a decision to award the level of quality of professional activity of a teacher within one year from the day of receiving the application of the teacher.”
Facts of the Case
The case has been initiated with regard to an application by 21 members of the 12th convocation of the Saeima (hereinafter – the applicant). The applicant notes that Education Law provides for teachers’ right to have their professional activity assessed within a certain term (hereinafter – quality assessment). However, Para 91 of Regulation No. 350 prohibits certain groups of teachers from applying for quality assessment until 1 September 2018, thus depriving them of the right to receive a surplus payment for the quality level.
The applicant holds that the Cabinet, by adopting this norm, has exceeded the authority granted to it by the legislator. It is maintained that Para 91 of Regulation No. 350 violates also the principle of legal certainty, since it had been adopted with retroactive force and does not envisage a lenient transition to the new regulation. Moreover, this provision is said to create differential treatment of teachers’ groups that are in similar and comparable circumstances. The Applicant holds that this differential treatment is incompatible with Article 91 of the Satversme.
Whereas Para 27 of Regulation No. 445 is said to decrease the amount of surplus for the level of quality that has been granted; i.e., for a part of teachers the surplus payment for quality levels is no longer calculated proportionally to the rated workload of the position, but proportionally to the number of rated classes. The applicants hold that teachers have developed legal expectations with respect to unchanging procedure for calculating surplus payments for the quality level that has been granted throughout the term of validity of the quality level.
The Constitutional Court has requested the Cabinet to submit by 20 June 2017 to the Constitutional Court a written reply, presenting the facts of the case and legal substantiation.
The term for preparing the case is 20 September 2017. The Court shall decide on the type of procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
Open in PDF: 2017-11-03_PR_par_ierosinasanu_ENG
Linked case: 2017-11-03