Greek Deputy Labour Min: 2020 Will Be a Better Year for Self-Employed, Wage Earners and Pensioners

Deputy Labour and Social Affairs Minister Notis Mitarakis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Wage earners, pensioners and the self-employed will all see their income increase in 2020 as a result of measures taken by the government, Deputy Labour and Social Affairs Minister Notis Mitarakis said in an interview on Skai television on Saturday. This increase will be the result of tax cuts, the reduction of social insurance contributions from July 2020, the reduction of the so-called ‘solidarity’ levy and an increase in the minimum wage, he said.

For pensioners, the minister pointed to changes that will increase the pensions of those that have worked for 30 to 35 years, the abolition of a 1,300-euro per month “cap” on the sum of main and supplementary pensions and the creation of a permanent support mechanism for pensioners.

“In total, the 2020 budget invests an additional 1.0 billion euros in pensioners and actively demonstrates New Democracy’s social face,” Mitarakis said.

He noted that a 25 pct reduction in insurance contributions for wage earners will “close the gap” between the very high labour costs and low take-home wages seen in Greece, while the self-employed will benefit from a liberal system where each entrepreneur can choose the level of the contributions that they pay, regardless of the number of years they have exercised their profession, in line with their current needs and the size of the final pension they want to receive.

As an example, he explained that for those earning 10,000 euros per year, the government will give tax rebates of 1,300 euros while the increase in the annual social insurance contributions will be 300 euros. “In other words, the freelance worker will gain 1,000 euros a year and also secure a larger pension. This is the major difference with SYRIZA’s policies,” he added.

On the negotiations to set the new minimum wage, he said that the process will begin in February while the final decision rested in the hands of the government, not the social partners.