The pension reform of the last legislature left some not minor issues in the pipeline that began to be negotiated this Monday in a meeting held between Social Security technicians, unions and employers. The two most important changes expected in the short term are those that will affect, first of all, the design of partial retirement and the relief contract, which make it possible to make work and pension compatible. The unions intend to reverse the cuts that were applied to this type of retirement in 2013, when its high cost led the PP Government to tighten its access conditions.
The second of these reforms will have to do with the possible expansion of the groups that can retire early and those who, due to the hardship of their activity, are allowed to have cuts in their pension for retiring early that are lower than those of the rest of the groups. workers. For example, hotel maids, known as kellys They are one of these groups that the unions intend to incorporate into the list of those who have the lowest penalizing coefficients in early retirement.
As explained by Social Security after the meeting, in terms of dangerous and arduous work, the negotiators plan to review the procedure for the coefficients reducing the retirement age in these activities “which will incorporate objective indicators for their determination.” However, the Secretary of Institutional Policy of UGT, Cristina Estévez, has specified that there is still no specific discussion on the table because no written proposals have yet been exchanged between the parties. That is why the negotiators have agreed to meet from January 29 to, yes, exchange texts. For his part, the head of Social Protection at CC OO, Carlos Bravo, has referred to the Government’s commitment to launch a working group to monitor the problems that the implementation of the Minimum Living Income (IMV) may be generating. and the creation of an observatory for the benefit for cessation of activity for the self-employed and the development of its contribution system based on real income.
To these issues, another has been added in this meeting, which is related to possible changes in the role of mutual collaborators of Social Security in the processes of sick leave caused by trauma problems. At this point, the possibility of referring to these mutual societies part of the management of the recovery of workers on sick leave due to traumatological problems derived from common illnesses and non-work accidents is at stake, as employers and unions also agreed to address in its latest collective bargaining agreement (AENC).
According to the employers’ association of these mutual societies, AMAT, the average duration of these illnesses is one month shorter if they are managed by these entities than if managed by Social Security. Specifically, it provides data that indicates that in all of 2022, 1,138,214 sick leave were processed due to Common Diseases and Non-Work Accidents diagnosed as trauma pathologies and that, therefore, were managed by Social Security (these diseases are managed by mutual insurance companies if its origin is an occupational disease or a work accident). These had an average duration of 68.64 days each. While the mutual insurance companies managed and medically treated 561,563 trauma sick leave resulting from work accidents, the average duration of which was 39.49 days.
The roadmap for the new negotiation was already established in the meeting that the social partners held at the end of December with the Minister of Social Security herself, Elma Saiz. She then announced the improvement in the protection of domestic workers that came into force on January 1, as a result of the first contact. Estévez has assured that UGT has now introduced other issues to deal with, such as the extension of the protection of discontinuous permanent employees.
Make salary and pension compatible
Partial retirement is a retirement model that was created in 2002, and that requires an agreement between the company and the worker so that, as initially thought, the employee could reduce their working hours once they reach the age of 60 and make their salary and the pension in proportion to the hours worked or stopped working. But when the worker reaches the legal age at which he can retire, he begins to collect the full pension, without the cuts experienced by those who opt for partial retirement. Furthermore, at first it was required that the hours that the partial retiree did not do should be done by someone else with a replacement contract, something that is no longer the case, since there is a partial retirement modality without a reliever.
This type of retirement became a very advantageous and, therefore, very successful option for many workers close to retirement. But it was also very costly for the system—before the pandemic it cost Social Security more than 2 billion annually. For this reason, the different Governments began to tighten this type of withdrawal, especially in 2006 and 2013. Specifically, the reforms have tightened the access requirements and legal regime; the percentages of reduction in working hours; age; the duration of the replacement contract, the obligation to contribute for the partial retiree and the reliever, the relationships between the functions and position of the substitute worker and those of the person replaced for contribution purposes. Furthermore, currently, this type of replacement contract is only available for the manufacturing industry, something that employers and unions want to extend to many other activities, such as commerce or others, in the midst of the generational replacement process.
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