Labour Research December 2016

European news

Parliament accepts retirement age cut

The Polish parliament has accepted a proposal from the government of the nationalist PiS party to reduce the retirement age to 60 for women and 65 for men from 1 October 2017. 

This reverses a measure introduced by the previous government which was intended to raise the retirement age gradually to 67 for both sexes — by 2020 for men and 2040 for women. 

The PiS won power in October last year and the promise to return to the previous retirement age was a major element in its electoral campaign. Speaking after the vote, prime minister Beata Szydło said: “We kept our word.”

The change has been criticised by the opposition, which has argued that, over time, it will lead to lower pensions. In reply, family and social affairs minister Elžbieta Rafalska pointed out that there was no obligation to retire at 60 or 65, and that Poles would be able to choose to work longer if they wanted a higher pension. 

The plan has been welcomed by the union confederation NSZZ Solidarnosc, whose leader Piotr Duda said: “This is happy day for all workers.” 

However, Jan Guz, the leader of the other main confederation OPZZ has been less enthusiastic. In an interview he said that the pensions system is damaged and “needs to be fundamentally changed”.

In fact, both union confederations favour a change in the system, moving to one based more on years of service than age.