The viability of the Social Insurance Fund is fully ensured by 2080, based on the proportional study completed in 2021 and taking into account the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said today the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Aimilianidou.
In a speech read by the Director General of the Ministry of Labor Andreas Zachariadis, at the European Conference DEC and EZA held in Larnaca, Ms. Emilianidou said that “the Government's long-standing cooperation with the social partners is based on solid foundations, which are based on solid foundations. mutual respect and the effective treatment of our common concerns, always in the context of social dialogue.
Referring to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister said that “both the effects and the potential for recovery are directly and substantially linked to the demographic structures of each society, as the older generation is most affected, with the elderly being the most vulnerable to specific crisis “, since, as he explained, apart from” the risk they run in case of illness, they belong to the most isolated groups of the population due to the protective measures of social distance, which are applied “.
In her speech, the Minister of Labor also referred to the demographic structure of a country, which “significantly affects the speed and ability to recover. By 2070 it is estimated that 30% of people in Europe will be over 65 years old compared to 20% today. From 2019 to 2070 the percentage of people aged 80 and over is projected to more than double to 13%. The active population aged 20-64 is projected to decrease proportionally to 51% by 2070 from 59% in 2019, while in Cyprus the percentage of people over 65 in 2019 was 16.4% and the percentage of people aged 20-64 was 62% “.
For Cyprus, the Minister continued, “the main priority is to ensure the long-term viability of the Social Security Plan so that it responds to the new challenges posed by the aging population and the low birth rate, as well as to ensure and maintain the benefits it provides. plan. In this context and after a dialogue with all the social partners, a package of measures has been adopted in order to ensure the viability of the Social Security system “.
Regarding the actuarial study conducted every three years, which is provided by the relevant legislation, he said that “according to this latest study which was completed in 2021 and has taken into account the effects of the pandemic, the viability of the Social Fund Insurance is fully guaranteed until 2080, even after taking into account the new or increased benefits that have been added in recent years, such as the Men's Widow's Pension, the Paid Paternity Leave, the Increase of the Institutional Pension for Warriors, Prisoners of War and Wounded 1974, the Extension of Maternity Allowance for Multiple Pregnancies, the Provision of Maternity Allowance to mothers through surrogacy or adoption and the Provision of Special Retirement Allowance to thalassaemics over the age of 50 “.
He also stated that “according to the Report on the Adequacy of Pensions of the Social Protection Committee of 2018, the risk percentages of relative poverty and the risk of poverty or social exclusion among the elderly in Cyprus decreased significantly during the period 2008-2020. This reduction is attributed to various factors, including the redistributive capacity of the social security system, the maturation of the proportional part of the Social Security Plan as well as the payment of additional social welfare benefits to low-income retirees on the basis of income criteria.
In her speech, the Minister also referred to the Social Dialogue that began this month “with the participation of all social partners, for a thorough review of the procedures and the legal framework of the country's social security system. The main objectives of this major reform that we are jointly promoting are the modernization of both the procedures and the legislative framework for the benefit of the citizens, with a special emphasis on digitalisation and e-government and the revision of the pension system to ensure the rights of employees. and correction of distortions found over time.
He also noted that “based on the new data that have been created and in the framework of a strategic approach for the gradual transition to structural and permanent measures that can contribute to the recovery and deepening of citizens' rights” the Ministry of Labor has put on track various actions including the launch of a social dialogue on the introduction of a national minimum wage, based on analyzes and studies already prepared by the Ministry with the support of the European Commission and the International Labor Office and the revision of the Social Security System and related in cooperation with the International Labor Office, with the aim of, among other things, the simplification of the Legislation for the benefit of the citizens and the strengthening of the coverage of the self-employed and workers with new forms of employment “.
Also on track are the “pension reform for equitable pensions for all, the assessment of the current situation in the Social Security Services in relation to the organization and procedures and the study of good practices in other European countries, the redesign and simplification of SGI procedures and training of executives and the digital transformation of HCAs with the development of an integrated information system and interconnection with other information systems for electronic submission and processing of applications for benefits and shortening of their examination time “.
The goal of the Ministry “through these additional reforms and policies is the decisive improvement of the quality of service to the citizen regarding benefits through digitalization, the deepening of social protection for all and the protection of workers' rights by utilizing modern tools and procedures. Regarding the Labor Relations System in Cyprus, over time it is based on a free model of determining terms of employment through collective bargaining between the two parties (employers and employees) and the conclusion of collective agreements “.
Regarding the Provident Funds, the Minister stated that “they are the second pillar of our pension system. The institution of Provident Funds is one of the most important achievements of employees in Cyprus, as they ensure the retirement future of every employee, while the majority of collective agreements, both business and sectoral, provide for the operation of a Provident Fund, to which employers contribute. .
Recognizing the importance of this benefit, he continued, every effort is made to ensure it in the respective renewals of the Collective Agreements, since this long-term savings brings to the employee, among other things, the opportunity of a more satisfactory standard of living at retirement. An important development is the fact that both the Hotel and the Construction Industry have now been regulated by law, inter alia, the security and the way of payment of the contributions of the employers and the employees in the Provident Funds, with the voting of the Amending Regulations on Employees in Hotels of 2020 and the Employees in the Construction Industry (Basic Terms of Service) of 2020, respectively “.
In his own greeting, Iosif Anastasiou, President of DEOK, gave the stigma of the Organization's intentions for the social dialogue that will soon begin for the reform of the pension system, and said that “analyzing the data of the insurance map of Cyprus we will find a wide range categories of insured persons who either receive low pensions or are threatened with poverty pensions. These categories include women with insurance gaps due to motherhood and their long-term absence from the labor market, low-paid workers, young people who enter the labor market with a long delay and are employed mainly in the so-called informal forms of employment. , and workers in the gray area of undeclared work “.
He stressed that the position of DEOK “is that the pension problem should be addressed with a holistic approach, that is, emphasis should be placed on strengthening the second pillar. To this end, the universality of welfare funds for all workers should be established “, he said and noted that” effective policies should also be implemented for the integration of women in the labor market, especially in the chapters of reconciliation of professional and family obligations and professional training “.
In addition, he proposed “the implementation of an enhanced state subsidy system for both women and young people with low incomes and contributions to the T.K.A. In parallel with the reform of the pension system, it is necessary to design a credible investment policy in order to utilize the reserves of TKA “, he said and noted that” in this context, it is necessary to set a timetable for the return of state debt to the fund. ” .