Retirement age of 67 and no more retirement benefits?  “It is necessary”

Raising the retirement age to 67 is the norm

This is a very difficult topic politically, but necessary with shrinking resources in the labor market – said a few days ago in an interview with PAP, Prof. Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, Director of the Institute of Statistics and Demography at Warsaw School of Economics. She pointed out that raising the retirement age is the standard in European Union countries, and in many countries this age is increasing with the change in life expectancy. The standard age is 67 for both sexes. She added that in some countries his age will exceed 70 years in the short term.

Why should Poles work longer? The answer is demographics

One of the main arguments in favor Raising the retirement age Most experts cite demographic changes (decreased number of births, longer life expectancy, etc.). The latest forecasts of the Central Statistical Office show that in 2060 Poland's population will reach 30.9 million. There would be approximately 7 million fewer than today. Let us add that this is the so-called average forecast, which scientists consider to be the most likely. In the so-called low variant, the projected Polish population in 2060 is even lower, at 26.7 million.

Gus In all his studies, he has for years been drawing attention not only to the decline in Poland's population, but also to significant changes in the demographic structure.. In 2060, “people aged 65 and over will make up nearly 30% of the population, and their number will increase by 2.5 million compared to 2022.” – We read in the study “Prospects of the resident population of Poland for the period 2023-2060 (level – regions)”.

The number of births is the lowest in the history of measurements

Current data on births, for example, leave no illusions about demographic trends. In 2022, only 305,000 babies were born. Children, which is 10 thousand fewer births than the low variant of the Central Statistical Office’s expectations. In contrast, in December 2023, the lowest number of children was born in Poland in the history of measurements – As forsal.pl wrote, for example. There were only 19,000 births, while in the previous year – more than three thousand. This number also includes children born to foreigners.

Raising the retirement age and financial ZUS

Other data that experts often cite to justify the need to raise the retirement age comes from ZUS. In mid-April this year. The company has, for example, published information on the status of the Social Insurance Fund (i.e. the “sack” into which pension contributions flow, Zeus As an enterprise, it deals with its management, i.e. primarily – the payment of pensions and other benefits). It turns out that in 2023, the level of coverage of current expenses of ZUS with income from contributions reached 83.6%. As ZUS points out, this was a good result, the second best since 1999, i.e. since the pension reform. However, this does not change the fact that the remaining part, i.e. more than 15%, had to go to ZUS directly from the state budget.

Information about the pensions paid by ZUS is also food for thought. Between December 2013 and December 2023, their number increased by 1.4 million (from 4.9 to 6.3). It is encouraging that at the same time the number of insured people also increased (by 1.7 million, from 14.6 to 16.3). However, it is not difficult to imagine what will happen when the number changes due to demographic changes Retirees It will continue to grow and the number of insured people will continue to decline.

It is also worth noting that a large part of the increase is due to the increase in the number of insured foreigners. In 2023, there were more than 1.1 million of them. The largest group was citizens of Ukraine and Belarus.

– Equal retirement age for women and men

Experts also point out that one way to improve the system is to equalize the retirement age for women and men. They explain that they are Polish Recipes This is unique.“Among the 27 EU member states, there was a differential retirement age for women and men in 2022 in only six countries, with Only in Poland and Romania is the target retirement age differentiated by gender. Meanwhile, following the planned equalization of retirement ages for women and men in Austria in the period 2024-2033, The retirement age for women in Poland will be the lowest among all EU members. Only in Croatia and Poland have plans to extend the retirement age and equalize it for both sexes to 67 years of age. However, in Croatia it will be equal for women and men at the age of 65,” wrote Dr. Piotr Russell of the Institute of Finance at the Faculty of Economics in Warsaw (in a text to gazeta.sgh.waw.pl).

Cancellation of retirement benefits

Many pension system analysts also point out that its current and future situation is negatively affected by the large number of employees outside the public system (farmers) and several groups with significant pension benefits (including police officers and other uniformed services). Differences in the situation of individual groups of insured persons have not only specific financial consequences. It also causes many people insured in the public system (ZUS) to feel unfair. We also cannot ignore the fact that within ZUS itself there is a large group of people with retirement benefits (such as miners). Trust in the system is not improved by frequent changes in regulations or decisions made by politicians who arbitrarily affect the amount of benefits (eg ages 13 and 14).

– We are multiplying the exceptions, changing the rules, offering customized solutions – and as a result, today we are faced with a set of regulations that are really difficult for anyone to understand – Tomas Lasocki from the Department of Insurance Law of the University of Warsaw commented some time ago to the forsal.pl portal.

He explained that the last demographic boom in Poland was in the second half of the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s. Then we just had lows. This latest boom will start to retire in a dozen years or so. – Someone will have to finance such a large number of services. And the current lows will do that. We already spend almost a third of the zloty we spend in the entire public finance sector on pensions – pointed out.

He warned that the rapid increase in spending on pensions would lead to insufficient funds for education or health care. He warned against that The pensions paid to the current generation of 40-year-olds may not be enough even for a poor life.. – Many, if not most, people will have to earn extra money until they die He commented – This is a real consequence of the decisions taken in recent years, including lowering the retirement age.

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