BUSINESS

Sowing the seeds of despair for pensioners

ROULA SALOUROU

TAGS: Finance

Almost a million Greeks risk facing unwanted surprises in the form of either a fresh cut to their pension or the imposition of additional social security contributions due to some unclear points in the law brought in by former labor minister Giorgos Katrougalos. The 2016 law concerns those who are involved in agricultural activities or declare an income from agriculture.

Some light might be shed on the grayer areas of the law and the circulars issued to date by a new circular officials at the Labor and Social Security Ministry are preparing following some strong reactions.

The Katrougalos law dictates that any new retirees (who applied for a pension after May 13, 2016) continuing to work will suffer a 60 percent reduction to their pension. The clause generated strong opposition mainly among farmers who faced the dilemma of ceasing their agricultural activities and losing the ensuing subsidies or continuing to work their land and receiving 60 percent less of their already small pension from the Agricultural Insurance Organization (OGA).

The same situation concerns those who only temporarily or rarely grow crops, even if this is not their profession. According to the law, they too must also pay contributions for the revenues they declare to the tax authorities, unless the issue is clarified by a Labor Ministry circular.

In the last few days the ministry has offered some breathing space to farmers insured at OGA, which now forms part of the new Single Social Security Entity (EFKA). It said that anyone retiring from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2024, while involved in some agricultural activity would continue to receive their pension without a reduction. Therefore those defined as farmers by profession who retire after January 2025 will suffer that 60 percent pension cut.

It is possible that previous pensioners from other funds with some involvement in agricultural work will also be exempted from the pension cut, depending on what the anticipated circular of the ministry dictates.

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