Exodus of civil servants

Major rise in public sector retirements, especially in education and healthcare

Exodus of civil servants

The increased number of retirements in the civil service is evolving this year into a wave of departures, as Finance Ministry sources speak of retirement applications being up by more than 15,100 public service workers, most of them from the health and education sectors.

That is a record figure, although social security experts estimate that departures may actually end up being much higher, possibly exceeding 20,000. The total figure of departures from the public and private sectors combined is expected to surpass 200,000 this year, as the applications submitted to the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) from January till end-October amounted to 170,000 – equal to those filed in 2020 as a whole.

According to official data from the draft budget, while 2019 had seen the retirement of 8,191 public sector workers, in 2020 that number rose to 11,367, and for 2021 the estimate is for 15,174 departures. The Finance Ministry expects a significant reduction next year, to 9,652 departures.

In practice, all that means that the ministries of Finance, Labor and Interior predict that retirements from the public sector will increase by 33.5% compared to last year and by a remarkable 85% from 2019.

Public healthcare workers and school teachers have been scrambling to find a way out in the last couple of years. However, there have also been significant losses in human resources due to retirements at EFKA itself, with competent officials expecting the departure of more than 600 employees this year, more than twice the rates of previous years.

In 2020 public healthcare workers and school teachers accounted for almost two-thirds of all departures from the civil service (44% and 22% respectively).

Figures available to date for this year show that these sectors are taking an even greater share between them, coming to 73% of all civil service departures, with the balance clearly tipping toward education as it accounts for 53% of retirements, with the healthcare service accounting for 20%.

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