Today, the Holy See announced a hiring freeze in an effort to offset budget shortfalls. In addition to stopping new hires, the Vatican also suspended salary increases and overtime. Pope Francis hopes that volunteers can be used to provide the labor needed to make up for the eventual attritition.
Carol Glatz, writing for Catholic News Service, reported that Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, sent a letter on February 13 to all the heads of Vatican offices, institutions and agencies. In the letter, Cardinal-designate Parolin anticipated a budget shortfall in 2014, following a large shortfall in 2011 and a small surplus of $2.7 million for 2012. The letter stipulated cost-cutting measures that would begin immediately and remain in effect until further notice, and which would apply to all Vatican dicasteries, offices, institutions and bodies.
According to CNS, the emergency measures include:
- Banning new hires, both on temporary and permanent contracts, including a freeze on filling current and future vacant posts.
- Temporary contracts, including third-party contracts, will not be renewed when their terms are up, unless there is a “specified” and “documented” need.
- There will be no more raises, promotions or new appointments for existing employees even where posts are available.
- Overtime is to be considered an “exception” and the frequent or “habitual recurrence” of workers clocking overtime “is forbidden.”
- Departments are encouraged to help fill vacancies by notifying the secretary of state of existing personnel who could be transferred to another office.
Employees were asked to “generously take on” the workload and duties left when their colleagues leave or retire.
The largest share of the Holy See’s annual expenditures is related to wages and other personnel costs for its 2,800 employees. Income is derived from diocesan and religious order contributions, as well as returns from the Holy See’s financial investments and profits from the Vatican bank’s investments.
In addition to the Holy See’s staff of approximately 2,800 individuals, there are nearly 1,900 people who work for the Vatican City State. That entity receives its revenue and profits from admissions to the Vatican Museums, and sales and services of the Vatican Post Office.
Most Vatican employees earn a tax-free starting salary ranging from $1,600 to $2,900 per month.