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Internship pensions in Poland. PiS wants to lower the retirement age and pensions in KPO – experts comment

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Before the elections, Law and Justice (PiS) will make another nod to mature voters. Regardless of the costs, he wants to win the election again thanks to the promise of shorter work, writes Friday’s “Gazeta Wyborcza”. It is about the introduction of seniority pensions in Poland, although PiS president Jarosław Kaczyński said a few months ago that “at the moment we cannot afford it yet”. At the same time, in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (KPO), the government promised to carry out a reform promoting work beyond the statutory retirement age.

The rulers announced this week unfreezing the project on internship pensions. “The way to pensions internships is open,” the Prime Minister wrote on Twitter Mateusz Morawiecki. This announcement came after an agreement was signed between the government and NSZZ “Solidarity“.

“GW” reminded that PiS lowered the retirement age for the first time in 2017. “It was one of his main promises that allowed him to win the parliamentary elections in 2015,” notes the newspaper.

Internship pensions in Poland

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In December 2021, the first reading of the civic project on traineeship pensions, prepared by NSZZ “Solidarity”, was held in the Sejm, under which 235,000 were collected. signatures.

The trade unions’ proposal provides that the right to such a benefit would have persons who have reached the amount of 35 years for women and 40 for men contributory and non-contributory period. The traineeship pension would be due provided that its amount determined using the so-called the defined contribution formula is not lower than the minimum old-age pension. In order to increase his old-age pension, the insured person could continue his paid work also after reaching the required insurance period.

The daily explains that if there is another reduction in the retirement age, when a woman starts working at the age of 20, she will be able to retire when she turns 55. “This is 12 years earlier than foreseen by the ’67 reform, and five years earlier than now, after the changes introduced by PiS (today the retirement age for women is 60)” – we read in the article.

On the other hand, a man who starts working at the age of 20 will be able to retire at the age of 60, five years earlier than today.

The current retirement age, effective from October 1, 2017, is 60 for women and 65 for men.

Internship pensions – what is the cost

– Another lowering of the retirement age will mean a problem especially for women, because they will often receive the lowest pensions – says Oskar Sobolewski, founder of the Debata Emerytalna initiative, pension and labor market expert at HRK in an interview with “GW”. The newspaper indicates that for the majority of Polish women, working until the age of 55 will mean the minimum pension, which today is about PLN 1,400 net.

According to the calculations of Dr. Łukasz Wacławik from the Faculty of Management at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, cited by the daily, when the transition to seniority pensions will include the years of contributions and non-contributory costs of these pensions will amount to approximately PLN 15 billion per year. – This is an incredible thing. All of Europe is increasing the age, and we are lowering it for the second time. Such a system will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Even rich Germany would not be able to finance it, he estimates.

Dr. Antoni Kolek, head of the Pension Institute, also has doubts. – This has nothing to do with predictable and coherent social policy. It is clear that it is only about winning the elections – he emphasizes.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski changed his mind

At the beginning of December 2022, the leader of PiS Jaroslaw Kaczynski during the meeting in Chojnice, he said that currently we cannot afford internship pensions. – When it comes to seniority pensions in general, we are sorry, but at the moment we cannot afford it, because although we have greatly increased the state’s possibilities, they are still not what we would like – said Kaczyński.

The PiS leader also pointed to the low retirement age. – Internship pensions would lead to the fact that women in their early fifties, and these are, if someone is not affected by some disease, ladies in full strength, and from the point of view of someone like me, and such older gentlemen must also be taken into account, they are just young girls, said Kaczyński. “Such ladies would be retired by now,” he added.

All this, however, would mean – as Jarosław Kaczyński said – that these pensions would be much lower. The PiS president pointed out that only one group of hard-working women can be treated as an exception in the case of seniority pensions.

Jarosław Kaczyński on internship pensions TVN24

Pensions in KPO

“GW” notes that the next reduction in age it also contradicts the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The Polish KPO was approved by the European Commission on June 1, 2022. On June 17, the KPO was approved by the EU Council. As part of the KPO, the Polish government has committed, among others, to: to carry out the reform: “Extending professional career and promoting work after exceeding the statutory retirement age”.

The justification indicated that “the relatively low effective retirement age in the light of the identified demographic trends may pose a serious challenge for Poland in the future, both in terms of public finances and the stabilization of the labor market”.

“An important challenge is also the relatively low level of pensions of people retiring after reaching the statutory age. Due to the relatively short contribution period (30-40 years), the amount of pensions paid by Social Security (ZUS) is significantly lower than the last salary. Studies conducted by ZUS and independent research centers indicate that extending employment by several years is of great importance for increasing the amount of pension (even by several dozen percent). This situation particularly affects women, due to the fact that they retire at the age of 60.

“Gazeta Wyborcza”, TVN24 Business

Main photo source: Leszek Szymanski/PAP

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