Credit: Freepik

New Pension Bill Permits Early Retirement For High-Risk Professions

The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has finalised a pension reform bill that will regulate the rise in the retirement age in line with life expectancy, ensure a minimum pension of 20% of the average wage, and allow earlier retirement for demanding professions, Labour Minister Marian Jurecka said today.

The latter could affect about 120,000 people, including all workers in the fourth category of work and some in the third category whose work involves physical stress, vibration, cold or heat. Depending on the number of shifts worked, they could retire up to five years before the retirement age.

Employers would have to pay 5% higher social security contributions for workers in demanding professions. Under the proposal, their rate would rise gradually from next year until 2028.

If an employee worked 2,200 shifts in a hazardous environment (about ten years), they could retire a year and a quarter earlier without a reduction in the amount. Workers could retire two and a half years earlier after working 4,400 shifts (about 20 years) in a demanding profession. Every additional 74 shifts could mean another month earlier retirement.

Risk factors include noise, dust, cold, heat, chemicals and biological agents, air pressure, radiation, physical, mental or visual stress, vibration, and working position. Due to limits being exceeded, protective equipment is needed in the third and fourth categories, and there is a high risk of health hazards even when using it.

The Ministries of Health and Labour and Social Affairs have agreed on four risks that should play a role in granting an early pension: physical stress, cold, heat and vibration.

The government introduced the planned pension reform changes on 11 May last year. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry submitted a draft pension amendment in mid-November. Ministries and institutions were able to submit comments.

The finalised version will be given to the Legislative Council of the Government and then to the cabinet. According to the plan, the Chamber of Deputies could vote on it by the end of July, after which the Senate would receive the bill for approval and the president for signature.

The opposition has reservations about the pension reform bill.

ANO wants Jurecka (KDU-CSL) to analyse the impact of the planned changes to pensions for the third category of demanding professions.

ANO representatives will discuss the planned changes with President Petr Pavel on Tuesday.

Ales Juchelka, ANO shadow minister of labour and social affairs, said it was important to know where the pension adjustments prepared by the government in three waves of parametric adjustments were heading. “Whether the aim of the changes is that I will put my grandchildren on a bus with an 80-year-old driver who will take them on a trip will be a major problem. Just like having an octogenarian cardiologist perform heart surgery on me,” Juchelka said.

Jurecka’s plan, Juchelka said, would reduce the number of demanding professions in the third category to about 360 jobs. “The four parameters are only a fraction of what we are now assessing in the third category, for example, there is also dust and noise,” Juchelka said. He added that although the development of protective equipment is moving forward, it can only partially reduce the impact of a bad environment on health.

For economically active seniors, Juchelka said their work should be reflected in their future pensions. Cutting their contributions, as proposed by the ministry, will burden the system, he believes.

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