ECONOMY

Plan to offer farmers reduced contributions and pensions

plan-to-offer-farmers-reduced-contributions-and-pensions

The Labor and Social Security Ministry is examining the possibility of creating three social security categories for farmers which would be based on three different pension levels, as it braces for the tough negotiations expected when the creditors’ representatives return to Athens.

The plan that the ministry is working on foresees three options for farmers, whereby the lower the social security contributions they choose to pay, the lower their pensions will be upon retirement. The first category are seen paying 12 percent of their income toward social security, the second a 14 percent rate and the third a 20 percent rate.

Consequently, a farmer who chooses to pay the 12 percent contribution will collect a national pension of 230 euros per month, which amounts to a 12/20 share of the full national pension of 384 euros/month. Likewise, those who pay 14 percent will upon retirement receive 268 euros/month, or 14/20 of the 384 euros. Only those who pay the full contribution of 20 percent will get 384 euros per month.

The ministry is also leaving open the possibility of keeping the farmers’ social security fund (OGA) as an independent primary pension fund that will not merge with the country’s other social security entities, in the context of retaining three and not just one single farmers’ fund. That was also the essence of the public statement that Minister Giorgos Katrougalos made in Parliament last Friday.

While more and more sources are speaking of new, tougher demands by the country’s creditors, with pressure for a reduction in the pensions currently paid out expected to grow further, there also are members within the main coalition partner, SYRIZA, who are voicing the opinion that the social security reform ought to distribute the extra burden equally among employees and current pensioners – instead of placing it only on those who are still working. These are the same voices which are noting that a reduction in main pensions that exceed 1,500 or 2,000 euros per month would satisfy the social justice of the system it would create.