ECONOMY

Pensions bill to raise costs by at least 300 mln

A series of measures that could burden the state budget by more than 300 million euros per year are included in a bill that the Labor Ministry tabled on Monday in Parliament.

The pensions bill, drafted by Alternate Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis, includes favorable clauses for pensioners (such as restoring pensions for some 30,000 uninsured farmers who are above the retirement age) and reducing contributions by self-employed doctors, engineers and lawyers.

The draft law will increase the obligations of pension funds by about 300 million euros per annum for the next few years at least (it could be even more if disability provisions are tweaked), while the proposals that the government submitted to its creditors include system-shocking measures that slash pension expenditure by 1 percent of gross domestic product, or 1.8 billion euros.

Surprisingly, the bill also includes a clause allowing women insured with the Piraeus-Kifissia Electric Railway (ISAP) fund to qualify for early retirement on a full pension if they had their 50th birthday by December 2010. This concerns only six women, and comes just as Brussels is eager to put an end to early retirements.