x

Politics

Greece Hiring Private Managers for Beset Social Security Agency

ATHENS – While Greece’s Social Security agency, EFKA, cleared 96 percent of 1 million backlog of pension applications, the New Democracy government plans to hire 224 managers to help, including from the private sector.

That would include 24 senior managers at top level positions paying up to 8,000 euros ($7972) a month, up to eight times what some civil servants get but it wasn’t said if the plan was a move toward privatization of the agency.

The Labor Ministry is finalizing the details of the call for applications, said Kathimerini in a report, the move likely to draw fire from some political opponents, particularly the major opposition SYRIZA which doesn’t want private managers.

It also means that Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis is proceeding with his near total overhaul of EFKA with plans he devised as soon as he took over to modernize an agency with a reputation for being sluggish and inefficient.

When workers retire in Greece, it can take two years or more before they see their first benefit checks and they aren’t allowed to work in the meantime, leaving those without savings or means to try to get under-the-table payment jobs.

The reforms include a hotline, the hiring of private lawyers and accountants to help reduce the still massive pile of pending online applications to speed them and setting up a so-called “digital communications room,” the report added.

Several of these reforms have been opposed by public sector unions as “creeping privatization,” the sector also rabidly opposed to evaluations of workers in public officials long known for being slow and bureaucratic.

He told the newspaper that hiring managers, including from the outside, would dramatically improve the state agency’s administration model and will attract experienced and capable people, no word what would happen to current managers.

One of the prerequisites to be considered for the job is a minimum 10-year experience in management positions in either the private or public sector, in Greece or abroad. It wasn’t said how he would get around a requirement that workers can’t be hired if their diploma isn’t from a public Greek university.

Successful applicants will be hired on a three-year, once-renewable contract. There still remain 56,000 main pensions to be processed, as well as tens of thousands of auxiliary pensions, lump-sum payments and other, more specific cases from those filed from 2016-22.

There are also several appeals procedures, estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000, for those who were awarded a smaller pension than they expected and the report said one benefit of clearing old applications is that those who got a minimum while waiting will get retroactive payments.

RELATED

ATHENS - A group of NGOs have urged Greece not to extradite a Turkish asylum seeker who accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of corruption, the move coming as Greece and Turkey are in a rapprochement that eased tensions.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Firefighters Seek to Corral Massive Texas Wildfires Before Weekend of Higher Temperatures and Winds

CANADIAN, Texas (AP) — The explosive growth of the second-largest wildfire in Texas history slowed as winds and temperatures dipped but the massive blaze was still untamed and threatening more death and destruction.

ATHENS - A group of NGOs have urged Greece not to extradite a Turkish asylum seeker who accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of corruption, the move coming as Greece and Turkey are in a rapprochement that eased tensions.

ATHENS - It’s been decades since the AIDS crisis broke out and spread fear about unprotected sex and promiscuity but data from Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) found that sexually-transmitted diseases are rising.

SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Christian Horner was on the Red Bull pit wall for the first Formula 1 practice of the year on Thursday, a day after a complaint of alleged misconduct against him was dismissed.

Nineteen percent — or 11 million Americans — age 65 or more are still hard at work.