The committee invited the Minister. of Labor to submit a proposal on the issue of not paying unemployment benefits to those workers who are over 63 years old
To submit a specific proposal to regulate the discrimination faced by workers over 63 who have not yet applied for a statutory pension and who are not entitled to unemployment benefits in the event that they lose their job, before Parliament closes for the summer recess holidays, the Parliamentary Labor Committee called the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance today.
Introducing the whole matter to today's session of the Commission, the President of Andreas Kavkalias explained that the matter concerns workers who have reached the age of 63, who choose to continue working and not retire early and clarified that the political will on the part of Commission is to find a way to grant this right to the specific age group of employees.
The specific age group of employees, he said, suffers from unfavorable discrimination, as while they are asked to continue to they normally pay their contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, at the same time they are denied the right to unemployment benefit.
As he explained, this is a gross injustice, since on the one hand, if these workers decided to retire at the age of 63, they would be penalized with a 12% surcharge on their pension, while on the other hand, if they continue to work, they are denied a basic right to work, the unemployment benefit.
And he added that for its part, the Committee once again called on the Government and the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance, as they had previously committed, to submit a bill that will settle the whole matter.
Therefore, a specific timetable has been set and it is expected that before the end of June, the Government will submit a specific proposal to resolve this issue.
Finally, he reminded that the Parliament had tried in the past to remove the injustice in question with legislation based on a relevant proposal of laws, which was however deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after it was impeached by the former President of the Republic, and that after this development, there was a commitment from the previous government to regulate the matter.
For her part, the Director of the Social Insurance Services Evangelia Georgiadou expressed “very serious reservations” regarding the regulation of the issue and asked for time to be informed, as he said, the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance.
And he added that as has been the case in the case of the regulation of the sickness benefit, so in this case too it is very important to define safety nets “as without them the measures that have been taken to ensure the viability of the TKA may be weakened”.< /p>
“We feel that if these safety nets are not put in place, many people will consider that the unemployment benefit will be an inalienable right of theirs and will apply, as a result of which the viability of the TKA will be disrupted”, he said .
She also explained that any regulation of the matter entails serious costs, which in the process could disrupt the long-term viability of TKA.
Ms. Georgiadou also reminded that it is ongoing a process of review and reform of the pension system and that therefore any piecemeal modification of issues that may affect the actuarial adjustment should be avoided.
Responding to the Director of the YKE, the President of the Commission said that it is not a matter of cost, it is a matter of rendering justice and respecting the rights of the workers, and that the matter has been discussed for 2-3 years. He also said that the total reform of the pension system cannot be expected and that the specific problem exists and that the specific employees pay their contributions regularly without enjoying the same rights.
DISY Member of Parliament Fotini Tsiridou agreed that safeguards need to be introduced in order to ensure its viability and added that a comprehensive position on the matter should be put before the Committee very soon.
AKEL Member of Parliament Christos Christofias said that AKEL knows very well that in order for people to be able to enjoy the benefits they are entitled to during their work, there must be a Fund standing on their feet and able to satisfy these needs.
He clarified, however, that “this does not mean that we should close our eyes where there are injustices” and that everyone in such cases should work to find solutions, even if temporary even if partial until the pension reform is completed.
EDEK MP Andreas Apostolou said that the matter should be regulated. “We understand the concerns and the safeguards that should be put in place to prevent any abuse,” he said, indicating however that those workers over 63 who are out of work cannot be wronged in order to protect the TKA but also that the logic of the TKA for non-payment of unemployment benefit to any unemployed person who has reached the age of 63 and can apply for a statutory pension is problematic.
“As long as an employee continues to pay his social insurances normally, he cannot have limited rights”, he said and requested that the desire of the MPs to immediately process the social insurances be transferred to the Minister and that the issue be brought back before the closure of the Parliament for the summer holidays.
DIPA MP Marinos Mousioutas asked the Ministry of Labor to submit a timetable for a final position on the matter.
As far as the representatives of the workers are concerned, the General Organizer of SEK Panikos Argyridis said that SEK will start a dialogue on the matter at the Social Insurance Council with the authorities responsible for the matter at the Social Insurance Services to submit the ideas it has regarding the establishment of safety nets. He said that there are many workers who are exposed to this discrimination, such as hotel workers and seasonal staff in general.
The General Secretary of EKYSY (PEO) Costas Skarparis reiterated that the issue should be resolved in such a way that people who are over 63 years old and have not applied for a statutory pension, should they lose their job, be able to receive unemployment benefits . He also noted that the latest actuarial study presented for the pension “makes no mention at all of resolving the issue of the 12% charge”. He finally said that it is insulting, when requests are made by the workers, to emphasize that there is no money at a time when there is a huge debt of the state to the TKA in the amount of €8 billion.
On behalf of the employers, the representative of the OEB Nikolas Clark said that the OEB will agree to a settlement of the matter only if there are insurance safeguards that will ensure that the unemployment benefit will be received only by those available for work, while the representative of the KEBE Andreas Alexis said that it is for a sensitive and serious matter and that the KEBE agrees with the positions expressed by YKE that the establishment of safeguards in the direction of protecting the viability of the TKA takes priority. He also asked that the matter be brought before the Social Insurance Council for further action.
POVEK CEO Stefanos Koursaris said that it is clear that there is a right of the workers which is not fulfilled by the TKA and called on the competent Ministry and the YKE to process the necessary insurance valves. “The postponement should not continue and the Ministry of Labor should define specific safeguards”, he stressed.
Finally, the Representative of the Legal Service clarified that if and as long as there is the political will from the executive branch, the Legal Service will examine any text, so that it is consistent with the Constitution and legality in general.