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Economy

After Decade of Austerity, Greek Pensioners Will Get Benefit Hikes

February 18, 2020

ATHENS – After losing up to 30 percent of their monthly benefits and lump sums – except for the protected – Greek pensioners will get small hikes under a measure filed in Parliament by the New Democracy government.

Some aspects, however, have so riled labor unions they conducted a 24-hour strike Feb. 18 over plans based on decisions from the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State.

That includes increases in the replacement rates for workers with more than 30 years of insured labor, at a cost that will not exceed 80 million euros ($86.59 million) for the first year of application, rising to 220 million euros ($238.12 million)in the second.

There are also new social security categories for 1.44 million self-employed and freelance professionals who have the right to choose the level of their monthly contributions, which will also determine the level of their pension, reported Kathimerini.

Social security contributions for full-time salaried employment as of June will fall by 0.90 percent, leading to an estimated reduction of non-salary costs by 123 million euros for the second half of the year.

Pension hikes will be given in June in a lump sum along with the retroactive payments due from October 1, 2019, for those who retired after May 13, 2016 after at least 30 years of insured labor, those who retired earlier left out.

And pensioners who retired before the activation of the so-called Katrougalos law in May 2016 and have a small or negative personal difference in their main pensions will get cuts under the scheme.

As of June, some 250,000 pensioners will also see an increase in their auxiliary pensions from the supplementary social security fund (ETEEAP), concerning retroactive payments from Oct. 1, reverting to the pre-June 2016 levels.

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