Pension reform: in future some older unemployed may lose €140 per month
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    Pension reform: in future some older unemployed may lose €140 per month

    © Belga
    Bacquelaine says that the government has opted to follow its predecessor’s course.
    © Belga

    Some of the older unemployed may lose up to a maximum of €140 per month in pension. This was confirmed on Monday by the Pensions Minister, Daniel Bacquelaine. However, the lowest wage earners remain unaffected.

    On Sunday, the President of the sp.a, John Crombez, accused the government of causing the loss of some €140 per month to the unemployed over 50. This has aroused a strong denial from his counterpart of the Open Vld, Gwendolyn Rutten. However, the details provided by the minister partly agree with the Socialist’s conclusions.

    Legislation which would implement pension reform has been sent to the Council of State. As stated, this should strengthen the link between an individual’s work and the pension received. It will only affect pensions which are effective at the earliest on January 1st, 2019 and periods of actual work or qualifying periods after January 1st of this year.

    The minister says that the government has opted to follow its predecessor’s course. It had already increased the gradual reduction of unemployment benefits using three periods. The previous government thus decided to use the minimum entitlement to calculate pension rights accrued during the third period (where a flat-rate allowance is due).

    The current plans do not anticipate any exception for those over 50 and unemployed (except for particular cases such as temporary unemployment or part-time work with an income guarantee). The rights will be calculated during the second period (after twelve months of unemployment) on the basis of an individual’s minimum entitlement.

    The gross sum of €140 lost per month mentioned concerns a specific category of workers. It is those who in their last job, received a salary greater than the threshold of €54,648 per year and remained wholly unemployed, for an uninterrupted second and third period for at least four years. In contrast, the rights of those unemployed, whose last salary was less than €23,841 per year, are still preserved under the new legislation.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times