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ANO To Challenge Government’s Pension Amendment at Constitutional Court

The pension amendment bill will take effect in October. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Sept 5 (CTK) – MPs from the opposition ANO party will challenge the government’s amendment to pension laws, which tightens the conditions for early retirement and slows down the regular indexation at the Constitutional Court, as agreed by the ANO parliamentary group last night and announced by chairwoman Alena Schillerova to CTK after the meeting.

Schillerova said ANO had decided to file a complaint against the law with the Constitutional Court for two reasons – first, over the procedure of approving the bill in the Chamber of Deputies, and secondly because of the violation of the principle of expectation when it comes to early retirement rules.

Schillerova argued that the ruling coalition violated the Chamber of Deputies rules of procedure as it decided to set a fixed time for the final vote on the draft amendment, even though some 30 MPs were still registered to participate in the debate.

“Then, of course, there is a certain predictability, a certain principle of expectation concerning early retirement, you cannot change the rules day by day,” she said.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurecka (KDU-CSL) said in reaction that he disagreed with ANO’s arguments against the pension amendment. Instead of criticism, he would welcome the opposition’s proposals for measures to strengthen the sustainability of the pension system in the future, he added.

“I cannot agree with that argument. We have been honestly presenting the changed rules of early retirement since the beginning of April, including the four parameters on which we have agreed. This has been known in the public for quite a long time,” Jurecka said. He added that the information also emerged when the lower house of parliament debated the bill in July, and then the upper house in August.

The pension amendment shortens the possibility of early retirement from five to three years before the regular retirement age, as of October, and reduces the sum received, while the merit part of the pension will not be indexed until the regular retirement age. A year later, the minimum period of social insurance payments will be extended by five years to 40 years.

With the regular January indexation, pensions currently increase by inflation and half the rise in real wages. In the future, only the price rise for pensioner households should be taken into account in the pension indexation, along with one-third of real wage growth, as was the case before 2018. The current extraordinary indexation of pensions in case of a higher price rise will be replaced by a temporary pension bonus, under the amendment.

The government originally planned the changes to take effect as of September. However, President Petr Pavel said in late August that he had reservations about the bill and would decide whether to veto it or sign it later. He signed it on 1 September, so it will take effect next month only.

Jurecka said on Sunday that up to 10,000 more people may retire earlier because of the one-month delay, which would cost up to CZK 4 billion next year alone.

Moreover, the ANO deputies will submit around 35 proposed changes to the government consolidation package, Schillerova told CTK on Monday evening.

The package, including tax changes, is intended to help improve the state budget. It will go through the second reading in the Chamber of Deputies at the beginning of its September session, starting this afternoon.

Schillerova, a former finance minister in the previous government of ANO leader Andrej Babis, reiterated that ANO did not agree with the tax package in principle. “We have always wanted to collect taxes properly, we wanted to fight the grey economy and then there would be no need to raise taxes,” she said.


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