The senators voted the law on special pensions. There were 91 votes in favor and 19 against. This is the second time that senators have voted on this law. The bill is anyway being debated today in the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decision-making forum in this case.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted the draft bill on Monday, but the normative act returned to the Senate on the grounds that several amendments were approved that “generate major differences in legal content” compared to the previously adopted form.
The normative act aims at the calculation of service pensions starting from seniority in the specialty, the reduction of the calculation percentage related to the earned income and the alignment of the minimum contribution period with that applied in the public pension system.
The debate was marked by objections from the opposition regarding this law. Most were related to changes to the project, on the grounds that special pensions are not, in fact, abolished.
So, in the version adopted today by the senators, the draft law has undergone changes compared to the version assumed by the Government and agreed with European officials.
More precisely, the PSD and PNL MPs introduced derogations and exceptions that postpone the application of the reform for the next 5 years and extend the elimination of special pensions for a period of 20 years.
The PSD and PNL lawmakers have modified in the specialized committees the draft law regulating the status of special pensions compared to the version presented by the Government. Thus, according to the new amendments, prosecutors and judges can retire until 2028 under the same conditions as before, i.e. regardless of age, if they have 25 years of service, and benefiting from a pension in the amount of 80% of the gross allowance and the increases from the last month of activity.
More precisely, the amendment establishes a five-year grace period for special retirees. The other categories of special pensioners and military pensioners benefit from the same retirement conditions provided by the laws in force now, in the next five years. The initiators of the amendment are the PSD and PNL MPs who reasoned that this provision is necessary “to maintain the activity of those who would meet the retirement conditions, without destabilizing the public system by the retirement of a very large number of employees”.
Another change compared to the assumed and announced version provides for a taxation of only 15% of special pensions higher than 4,000 lei net and not 30% as originally announced. The retirement age increases next year in stages, from 50 in 2024 to 60 in 2035. “The project does not provide for the abolition of these pensions, but the gradual transition to contributory pensions until 2043“, explained the chairman of the Labor committee, Adrian Solomon.
The opposition slammed the ruling coalition for the actually not cutting special pensions.
USR said that it voted against the project because it does nothing but “save special pensions”. USR claims that no special pension is actually cut by the project and that general equity is not ensured and pension spending is not reduced.
Amending the law on special pensions is a milestone condition in the National Recovery and Resilience Program (NRRP). If Romania does not reform the special pensions, it will no longer receive European money for the NRRP.