The Slovenia Times

PM announces €100 million package for pensioners

Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Prime Minister Robert Golob has announced a €100 million package of measures aiming to support pensioners, including a guaranteed minimum pension of €700 and a Christmas bonus. The promise invited mixed reactions.

Addressing an event called Days of Intergenerational Harmony on 24 May, Golob said the government had wrapped up the process of interdepartmental coordination over four measures this week.

He announced an early pension adjustment of 1.8% in November "to fulfil the promise of having a minimum guaranteed pension of €700 before the end of the year".

Moreover, all widow's and widower's pensions would be aligned with the minimum guaranteed pension by January 1 at the latest, a measure that Golob said would benefit around 10,000 individuals.

The third measure will address disabled individuals who work reduced hours due to health issues. While presently their pension base is reduced as they claim partial disability retirement, "we will change this starting from 1 January, at least for those who claim disability from that time onward". "Their pension base will be calculated as if they worked full-time," Golob said.

The fourth measure is a Christmas bonus. It will be calculated in a similar way as the annual bonus, which is paid out in June, but the amount will be lower. According to Golob, it will be 40% of the annual bonus.

The measures were announced after a series of pensioner protests and calls by various pensioner associations for an emergency 3.5% rise in pensions and for an additional 1% rise for all those who retired before 2012 after the public pension insurance fund endorsed the proposal earlier this year.

Responding, Janez Sušnik, the head of the Pensioners' Association (ZDUS), the largest pensioner association in the country, expressed surprise about the Christmas bonus and criticism of the level and timing of the pension adjustment.

He would prefer to see the adjustment sooner than November, and argued the 1.8% rise was way too little given the level of inflation. He pointed out that ZDUS had proposed a 3.5% adjustment in February.

"I hope that reason will prevail, that the value of the social package will be adjusted accordingly and provide for those who really are in need," he said. He noted that those with low pensions received three aid packages under the previous government.

He welcomed the measures helping the disabled and widows. Commenting that public finances do not seem to allow for an earlier adjustment, Sušnik argued that "if economic growth accelerates a little, some wiggle room will be available."

The measures have been welcomed by the coalition and opposition in principle, but Janez Janša, the leader of the Democrats (SDS), said the amount promised to pensioners was "absolutely too little".

"Considering inflation projections for this year, all the bonuses and the two-month rise combined do not amount to what inflation will take away from pensioners," Janša said, announcing his party would push for a higher winter bonus.


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