Minister Escrivá assures that it is "absolutely false" that there will be a cut in pensions

The extension of the pension calculation period has returned to the forefront of the pension debate. The issue is not being discussed at the moment with the social agents and it was already known that it was part of the future pension reform, to be negotiated in 2022. However, the publication by the Government and Brussels of the agreement on European funds this Wednesday has returned to focus on the issue. In a summary table of commitments and milestones of this document, the "extension" of the calculation period is briefly collected, something that had already been published in the same terms in another document in June. Minister Escrivá has assured this morning in an interview in La Sexta that the measure, still to be debated and without even a proposal, is proposed to adapt the system to new job careers and has called it "absolutely false" that it intends to apply a cut in pensions.

How extending the calculation to 35 years of contributions affects the pension: cuts in general, improvements for the unemployed and harmful for women

How extending the calculation to 35 years of contributions affects the pension: cuts in general, improvements for the unemployed and harmful for women

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"There is nothing new. Nothing, nothing," has reiterated over and over again the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, in Al Rojo Vivo, visibly upset by the controversy unleashed again on this issue. The minister has already faced it, but with Unidos Podemos at the helm, when in the documents that the Government prepared on the pension reform an extension of the calculation period was included to calculate the ten-year pension, from 25 to 35 years.

Although Escrivá always denied that the 35-year-old was a proposal from his Ministry, he was present in the government drafts that were being debated to be sent to Brussels until the last moment. United We Can - with Pablo Iglesias at the helm at that time - publicly alerted of this extension, which rejected the purple formation, and finally the pension reform document that the coalition government sent to the European Commission withdrew that specific extension figure ( 35 years).

But the idea of ​​extending the counting period was kept on the cards to Brussels, although with a somewhat confusing language. It was summarized as the "adaptation" of the calculation period to the new labor realities, of more intermittent jobs and with more interruptions throughout professional careers, but the background was still to consider an extension of the calculation period. It was known and the media - this and many others - reported it. It was something that appeared in the explanations of component 30 sent to Brussels on the pension reform, and that Minister Escrivá has mentioned in several of his interventions.

Of course, the Minister of Social Security has always insisted that the idea of ​​this extension of the calculation period would be accompanied by complementary measures, such as the possibility of discarding some years by workers, those that were most harmful to the calculation. Its objective is to adapt the pension system to more intermittent work careers, not to cut spending, Escrivá insisted again this Thursday.

Even so, being an issue that is still pending to be negotiated with the social agents and that still does not have an official proposal, the person in charge of Social Security always summons to give details about it later, when there really is an approach of the Government on the table.

Can it involve cuts? Unions warn of their 'no'

The controversy that is unleashed every time this measure is addressed, the extension of the calculation period, is related to the fear of possible cuts in the pensions of the majority of citizens. Although Minister Escrivá emphatically denies it, and assures that complementary measures will be articulated to prevent it, in the past the extension of this period has caused a reduction in spending on average and that precedent is there.

José Luis Escrivá has insisted today that the extension of the calculation period will not be considered in any case in a general way and without exceptions, as happened in the past extensions. The last (from 15 to 25 years), in the 2011 reform of President Zapatero, reduced spending on pensions in an aggregate way, the minister has recognized.

On the other hand, Escrivá has assured that "now this is not strictly about reducing pension spending", but about "changing the system because labor relations have changed", with fewer linear careers compared to the past and more people who do not have stable contracts. . The minister has warned, for example, of people who are unemployed with an advanced age, to whom "this system does not benefit them" and the calculation "of more years" is beneficial to them. Early in the morning, in another interview, the minister warned, for example, that he estimates that "for 30% of workers their last years are not the best."

It is true that taking more years to calculate the pension can be beneficial to some people, such as those who become unemployed at advanced ages. But it is also true that, according to existing estimates, if this measure were taken in isolation (no buts), usually causes an average reduction in pensions.

That is why the fine print of how the measure proceeds is so important and that is where social dialogue with unions and employers is key. Faced with the reopening of the debate, the majority workers' organizations have once again insisted that they will not tolerate "under any circumstances" a cut in pensions.

"UGT and CCOO know well how it works and what it means to act on the calculation period; to whom the pension expectation is reduced and to whom it is improved, as well as its effects in terms of reducing pension spending and the different forms of correct it, but it is difficult to understand why such a controversial measure is placed at the center of the debate when the Social Dialogue and the Toledo Pact have demonstrated their ability to intervene on multiple aspects of the pension system with the aim of maintaining and reinforcing their level of future coverage ".

Thus, the unions demand that the Government focus on the debates now on the table, such as the intergenerational equity mechanism to guarantee the pensions of the 'baby boom', and that gives certainty and does not generate controversy. Minister Escrivá has also insisted on this idea, but pointing to the media in his case. The head of Social Security has asked not to "misrepresent" or create false debates about pensions, which generate doubts and fears in pensioners.


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