Officers of Lithuania’s elite squad forced to take second jobs

Aras officers currently get less than 600 euro per month after taxes. Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that Lithuania just cannot pay the officers, who fight terrorists, more.

Aras officers reveal that in a private security company they can get six times more than what they are paid by the Lithuanian state.

Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that Aras officers cannot be paid more, because the law sets out maximum compensation rates for officers in public service.

Officials responsible for national security are familiar with the situation but do not know what to do. Artūras Paulauskas, the chair of the Parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee, said that the situation “is not normal. It is not normal that people have a secondary job and sometimes that job is such that, as one commissioner has said, it is hard to tell which one is the main job. <…> We live in such situation that there are not enough funds to raise the wages and these people are looking for opportunities to have some additional income.”

Mr. Skvernelis said that “if an officer works during unpaid vacation time and does it legally, I think there are no violations of the law.” He added that if Aras officers were not allowed to supplement their income from other sources, it would not be possible to sustain a unit like Aras. “They are only there for patriotism and other values,” Skvernelis said.

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