A harsh social security reform with cuts to rights and handouts is slowly being planned at the Labor Ministry, with the drafting of the new Single Regulation for Social Security and Benefits of the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA). As the size of the cuts represents a worry for the ministry leadership, it was decided to retain the distinction between salary workers and non-salary workers for a series of benefits.
There are two arguments for reversing the practice of single rules for all EFKA fund members: The first regards the nature of employment, with officials at the General Secretariat for Social Security stressing that although all workers should have equal treatment, certain distinctions ought to be justified because of differences in the nature of some jobs.
The second concerns the essence of merging the terms and conditions for EFKA benefit issues: A possible application of single regulations for all would lead to a drastic cut in handouts, which the government would not like to see, especially ahead of a general election. Officials predict that in this third year of EFKA’s operation its new set of regulations may not even be ratified by this government, with the hot potato of cuts being passed on to the next labor minister.
The project is not at all easy, as it effectively amounts to the full consolidation of the social security system, including thousands of different social security statuses and handouts of the various entities that joined EFKA in January 2017, as well as all those already applying to the entity.
“There is no EFKA as long as there is no set of regulations,” unionists in the sector tell Kathimerini, adding that there is no provision yet as to when this process will be completed.
The ministry’s task forces meet on a regular basis, but are constantly coming up against the fact that the procedure for drafting the regulations is exceptionally complicated.
Therefore, if a solution for the single set of regulations is to be based on the handouts provided for by the former Social Security Foundation (IKA), then the big losers would be the self-employed and scientists (doctors etc) of the former ETAA fund, as well as the salary workers at state corporations and banks that were insured with the former special funds.