Early retirement to be possible within months for former child workers

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 11-05-2017 15:08:00 · 0 Comments
Early retirement to be possible within months for former child workers

More than 18,000 workers in Portugal should, from this year, be able to retire early from the age of 60 onwards, without their pensions being docked, if they have made social security contributions for 48 years and began working before the age of 15, under government plans being discussed with unions and employers.

The move is aimed at righting a perceived injustice against thousands of people who started work at a time when child labour was common. It is a reform that trade unions have been calling for over a number of years.
The country’s minister of employment, José Vieira da Silva, told reporters after a meeting with trade unions and employer organisations that the new rules for early retirement are to be implemented in three phases. The government aims to implement the first of these before the end of this year but is not committing itself to a timetable for the others, he said, adding only that it will be “during this parliament”.
The first phase, which aims to guarantee the “protection of very long contributory careers and/or child or youth labour with social security contributions”, will make possible early retirement - without any penalty - for workers who have paid in for at least 48 years, as well as those who started paying in before the age of 15 and who are at least 60 and have 46 years of contribution when they retire.
Also in this first phase are those who began working before they turned 16 and who are aged at least 60 and have 40 years of contributions when they retire - with a lighter penalty than hitherto of 0.4 percent per month if they retire early, against the current 0.5 percent per month. This change is aimed at those who, although they began working very early, were not able to complete 40 years of payments.

The government estimates that there are 18,123 people in a position to retire early under this first phase of the new rules - with the minister saying that this stage will be concluded “quickly”.
According to the document submitted on Thursday to unions and employers, the second phase of the plan is aimed at future pensioners aged 63, who at the age of 60 have made at least 40 years of contributions. The third phase is to cover future pensioners aged between 60 and 62 or more, who at 60 also have 40 or more years of contributions.
In all, the ministry estimates that there are another 21,509 people covered by these second and third phases, making for an overall total of 39,632. It estimates the cost of the reforms at €300 million in its peak year and says that, if phased in as planned, it should not undermine the finances of the social security system.
Arménio Carlos, the secretary-general for the CGTP, Portugal’s largest trade union federation, said after the meeting that it was “another one in which not much progress was made”, and rejected the idea of penalties for anyone who has made contributions for 40 years. He said that “great expectations” had been created among potential pensioners, who might now be “very much frustrated”.
At present the age of eligibility for a full pension is 66 years and three months - with this being indexed to life expectancy, under reforms implemented some years ago.


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