After reaching the age of 61 for women and 65 for men, the employees of the Romanian public system will be able, if they wish, to remain active until the age of 70, but they will not be allowed to receive both a pension and a salary. The government of the center-right coalition in Bucharest has approved a bill in this regard, which is to be debated as a matter of urgency in Parliament. After the adoption of the bill in a government meeting, the Minister of Labor, Raluca Turcan explained:
"After reaching the age of 70, a person can request the recalculation of the pension in the public system, the advantage consisting in the increase of the monthly and annual points. It also determines institutions to re-establish their human resources policy. Retirement from a state job and the return to the public system, possibly on specially created positions, has never been and cannot become a modern, European-type human resources policy. "
Employees who have chosen to continue working may renounce this commitment at any time. On the other hand, the amounts unduly collected will be recovered from retirees. There are, however, exceptions to the provisions of the bill: dignitaries, teaching staff paid by the hour, personal and maternal assistants or members of the Romanian Academy will be able to receive a pension and a salary at the same time.
From the opposition, the Social Democratic vice-president, Sorin Grindeanu, announces that the Social Democrats are looking forward for the document to reach Parliament, in order to challenge it at the Constitutional Court, considering that it includes provisions that violate the Fundamental Law:
"In recent weeks, we have seen a particular concern of the Government, of the governing coalition, for pensions, saying that the retirement age will grow, that pensions will be frozen, that there are commitments under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) with regard to reforms, etc. What we know about this bill is that it includes provisions that are not constitutional so we won't hesitate to challenge it."
More than 100,000 people over the age of 65 currently have an employment contract, Minister Raluca Turcan has said, explaining that the bill that prohibits the cumulation of the pension with the salary pursues several objectives, including capitalizing on the experience of employees that are reaching the threshold of retirement and equity for the staff in the public sector. In addition, the authorities say, in the medium and long run, against the background of an imbalance between the number of employees and retirees, the current public pension system will accumulate debts and, in a few years, will not be able to cope with payments.
One of the opponents' counterarguments is, however, that, in Romania, life expectancy is declining and is among the lowest in the European Union, so that, at the age of 70, many people may not be able to enjoy a pension after having contributed to the public system for decades. (MI)