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    “The unemployed over 50 will not all be spared”

    Some unemployed, who are over 50, will be greatly affected by the federal government’s pension reforms. The FGTB (Socialist trade union) said on Monday that this will in particular be the case for three categories. These are the unemployed over 50, who have worked for more than 45 years, those taking early retirement having worked for more than 45 years, and a large proportion of those over 50 taking early retirement.

    It is worth noting that the federal government had put forward the idea that some pensions could be reduced, according to a new means of calculation. This took into account periods of unemployment, which might have caused a loss of €140 per month for some pensioners. In the past week, the federal government finally decided to back down, and to continue to calculate the pension of the unemployed over 50 on the basis of their final salary.

    However the Socialist trade union remains sceptical. It says that some unemployed over 50 will indeed be affected by the pension reform. Also affected will be those over 50, who have worked for more than 45 years who are unemployed or who take early retirement. At the moment, their pension is calculated on the last 45 years of their career. With effect from 2019, the first 45 years will be taken into account. The FGTB says that obviously the wage in a person’s early working years will be lower than that at the end of their career. Thus the total pension received will be scaled down.

    This category mainly consists of workers who started work at 16 or an even younger age. Celien Vanmoerkerk, a pensions specialist at FGTB, says, “The government measures could cause them to lose up to €113 per month.” The trade union says that 35% of men and 7% of women retiring in 2019 will be affected, or some 16,500 people entitled, of whom 14,200 are men.

    Moreover, those taking early retirement will be affected by this reform, except for those undertaking manual work or who took early retirement following a restructuring. The others will only have the right to a minimum pension for the years not worked.

    The Socialist trade union concludes, “The consideration given to those over 50 also forces us to forget that the pension for those under 50, who are unemployed for more than one year, will be scaled down. In any event, for many youngsters their future pension has already been drastically reduced in comparison to older generations.”

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times