Lower retirement age for Poles?

Prawo i Sprawiedliwość party in the general election campaign promised Poles lowering the retirement age. Now, they are saying they are going to keep the promise. Experts warn that the government is asking for trouble.

When the previous government introduced gradual lengthening of the retirement age, many people in Poland were not impressed. The retirement age was pushed up to 67 for both men and women. However, the new retirement threshold is being introduced in stages, as with each year the working population ends working a little bit later.

Now, it appears the reform will be never completed. The biggest opposition party (now the ruling party) made a promise they would revert the unpopular law. According to government officials, there is no way the party will back out.

What at first glance appears appealing for average Mr and Mrs Kowalski, sends shivers up and down the experts’ spines. You do not need to be a genius to understand that lowering the retirement age will be very costly.

More people getting their pensions means less people working and less people paying income taxes. The current pension system is highly ineffective and depends on heavy funding from the government. Lowering the retirement age may only get things worse. There will simply be no money for pensions.

However, the government says there is nothing to worry about. The reform will be funded by more efficient tax collection and fighting white collar crime (especially crime groups involved in tax frauds).

Experts warn that even with the present age limit, there will be no assets to guarantee future pensioners payments in the amounts close to their current salaries. On the contrary, pensions will most likely be much lower, and in numerous cases will not allow to maintain a satisfactory standard of living.

This is especially true for women. If they work until 60 instead of 67, this will have effect on the amount of pension contribution they pay into the system. As a result, their pensions will be lower than those of men. Social Insurance Institution, a public institution responsible for pension payments in Poland, estimates that Poles in 30 years state pensions of may be in the amount of 30% of the pensioner’s last salary.

Despite the facts, polls show that the general public supports the government initiative to bring the retirement age down to 60 for women and 65 for men.