The Slovenia Times

Unions somewhat reserved about proposed retirement age raise


Lidija Jerkič, the president of the largest trade union association in Slovenia, noted that a majority of the proposals to change the existing pension legislation were just adjustments, not a thorough reform.

According to her, the proposals "are carrots on the one hand and some sticks on the other". She nevertheless welcomed the majority of them, especially the proposed rise in the pension rate.

The rate for persons with 40 years of pensionable service is proposed to be increased in six years to 63% of the long-term average wage for both men and women. The current rate is 57.25% for men and 60.25% for women.

Jerkič added that a lot of caution would meanwhile be needed in introducing the gradual rise of the retirement age for persons without 40 years of pensionable service from the current 65 years to 67 by 2034.

"The measure is poorly explained in the proposals and implies the possibility of extension only for those who do not have 40 years of pensionable service," she stressed.

Jerkič believes the retirement age rise should not be implemented hastily, also from the aspect of the recent data showing an increase in sick leave among employees older than 60. "It wouldn't be right if this becomes the focal point of the changes," she said.

The ZSSS welcomed the proposal that retired persons who continue to work after meeting the conditions for old-age pensions also receive 50% of their pensions for three years, an increase from the current 20%.

But Jerkič noted that one of the conditions is that these individuals are older than 63, adding that it was yet to be debated whether this was the right age.

She thinks that the measures for "filling and emptying" the pension purse are not balanced. She said Slovenia was the only country in which employees pay more contributions for pension and disability insurance than employers.

The GZS, meanwhile, said that the proposed changes were certainly a good starting point for more decent pensions in the future and a basis for an increase in the share of active population older than 55.

The chamber said it expected to be informed about the expected financial impact of the proposals, adding that "financial sustainability of the pension system should be ensured without additional obligations for employers and employees".

The GZS noted that the ministry's proposals covered only a segment of all the necessary and expected changes in this field demanded by the demographic trends which changed the age structure of the working population.

The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) said that the solution allowing pensioners to work and receive 50% of their pensions in the first three years after retiring was a step in the right direction.

It believes that this will result in higher budget revenue and improve the "status" of sole proprietors, lifting it to the level similar to that in other EU countries.

The Association of Pensioners (ZDUS), on the other hand, is not completely happy with this proposal. President Janez Sušnik said that the association expected a number higher than 50% of pension for those who decide to continue working after retiring.

The ZDUS is, however, happy with the planned increase in pension rate, especially because this will also lead to an increase in widow, disabled and family pensions, as well as disability insurance compensation.

Sušnik also has no reservations about the increase of pensionable age to 67 for those with less than 40 years of pensionable service.

However, he pointed out that the ministry's proposal did not address issues such as non-inflation related pension increases, that is the annual bonus.


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