Under the Public Information Access Act, personal data is generally considered non-public information. However, this rule does not apply to information relating to the expenditure of public funds or to the performance of a public function or to the employment of a public official (unless such information has been declared classified or tax secret, or its disclosure could jeopardise the integrity of a judicial proceeding).
In addition, the Public Sector Salary System Act clearly states that the public should have access to information on the post, the amount of the basic salary, any allowances (less the seniority allowance) and the total amount of the gross salary for every public servant, with the exception of intelligence and security officials.
The IC of Slovenia (Informacijski pooblaščenec) has expressed on several occasions, including before the present case, that the information on the salaries of the employees of the Police and the Ministry of Interior should be considered as public information.
The police officers’ unions not only saw this as an unfair negotiation tactic, but also expressed fears that the publication of all employees and their salaries could attract criminal groups and give them a tool to infiltrate their ranks, exposing those with low salaries to bribery attempts.
However, the Ministry denied the allegations and has since kept the data online and updated (the latest available set can be found here (in Slovenian)).
In a press release, the IC sided with the Ministry, reiterating its position on the publication of the salary data, and stating that it did not intend to initiate the audit procedure. It noted however, that the outcome could have been different, if the personal data in question had been declared classified – an act that can only be carried out by the controller, i. e. the Ministry of Interior.
Article provided by: Matija Jamnik (JK Group, Slovenia)
Dr. Tobias Höllwarth (Managing Director INPLP)