Labor Ministry retreats on social security law

4 March 2017
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The government is retreating on the social security contributions payable by freelance workers who issue invoices for series rendered, as the clauses of the law introduced by former labor and social security minister Giorgos Katrougalos and the circulars published have complicate the situation to such an extent that thousands of workers still don’t know how much they are supposed to pay.

Kathimerini has learned that the Labor Ministry has already drafted a bill aimed at “accelerating the process for the implementation of the social security reform,” which is expected to reach Parliament in the next few days. It will include clauses that modify crucial points of the Katrougalos law – voted last May – that came into force on January 1 but has proved impossible to implement.

Notably, more than 150,000 workers still do not know the amount of contributions they are supposed to pay to the new Single Social Security Entity (EFKA).

With the heads of the creditors’ representatives in Athens and the talks at a crucial stage concerning new austerity measures in the social security system amounting to 1 percent of the gross domestic product from 2019 or 2020, the ministry has for the time being chosen not to submit a bill that would practically undo the social security reform.

The ministry has also decided to use the consumer price index for calculating the pensionable earnings of those who submitted their retirement papers after May 13 last year, in order to determine the amount of their pensions based on the Katrougalos law.

On Friday the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) issued a statement saying it was impossible to issue the salary change index for the period since 2002 that the Katrougalos law provides for, and implicitly blamed the ministry for the delay of at least nine months in the issuing of about 40,000 pensions.

In a bid to unfreeze the calculation process, the ministry on Friday tabled an amendment in Parliament according to which the pensionable earnings will be calculated according to ELSTAT’s average consumer price index level until 2020. From 2021, a salary change index yet to be agreed will be used instead.

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