SOCIAL SECURITY

Bill for overhauling long-suffering EFKA

bill-for-overhauling-long-suffering-efka

A long overdue draft bill overhauling the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) and making it more efficient was put to a 15-day public consultation on Friday, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said.

“The regulations outlined in the draft law concern improving the performance of EFKA employees, strengthening the processes of employees being rewarded and answering to their superiors, increasing the agency’s flexibility and speed, and the optimum utilization and management of its real estate property,” the ministry said in a statement.

The bill, which foresees productivity bonuses and the hiring of permanent and temporary staff, including managers, from both the public and private sectors, had been pre-announced on November 30 by Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, who said it would be tabled in Parliament for a vote within the month of January.

In November, the minister explained that EFKA is one of the largest public organizations in Greece, serving 6.5 million citizens, of which 2.5 million are pensioners and the rest are salaried workers or self-employed professionals.

“It is, at the same time, the most problematic agency in Greece’s public administration and the subject of the biggest number, by far, of citizens’ complaints to the Greek Ombudsman (accounting for 48% of the total concerning the wider public sector), while delays in handling pensions is the top complaint,” the minister had said at the time. 

Delays and bureaucratic hurdles were worsened by the hasty integration of former healthcare and pension funds in 2016, a lack of specialized personnel and outdated computers, he had noted.

On Friday, when the draft bill was posted, Hatzidakis said the new legislation would “follow European standards, be more effective, more productive and mainly more user-friendly, not resembling in any way” the old EFKA.

One of its key provisions, the minister underlined, will help attract high-caliber staff from the private and public sectors and introduce more efficient procedures related to everything from data management to office supplies. “The insured person is not a servant to the administration; it is the administration that should serve the insured person,” Hatzidakis said.

Another key provision sets out a rewards system for productivity for EFKA’s employees.