Pension proposals called for

Citizens were yesterday invited to comment on the government’s planned social security reforms, which, among other things, will see the retirement age of female public servants rise to par with their male colleagues. As it has done with other major legislation since coming to power last October, PASOK published its proposals online and asked the public to comment on the website during a period of open consultation that will last until April 16. The government plans to introduce changes to Greece’s creaking pension system in three waves, starting in 2013. One of the key aims will be to simplify the system, which is currently plagued by a raft of agreements that grant extra benefits to some groups and not others. The government intends to be in a position later this decade to grant all retirees, regardless of their profession and position, the same basic state pension, the size of which will be decided in the future, although a figure of 360 euros has been suggested. Beyond that, pensioners will receive money that corresponds to the number of years that they have worked and the insurance contributions they have made. «Our aim with the raft of changes that we are introducing is to ensure that the level of spending [on pensions] in 2030 is the same as it was in 2008, in other words 4.8 percent of gross domestic product,» said Labor and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos. He said that the transition from the current system to the new one would be particularly difficult, since it has to be carried out without any extra expenditure, given the problems Greece has with its public finances. In February, Loverdos said that unless the pension system was reformed, it would go bankrupt within five years. Among the measures that the government is considering in order to avoid the system being burdened by large payouts in the future is to put an end to voluntary retirement schemes, which have proved a considerable drain on resources.

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