ATHENS – Fearing continued cuts to their benefits, 75 percent of pensioners in Greece have managed to secure early retirement, further weakening the deficit-ridden pension system.
Data presented by Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis showed that about three in four of public sector and IKA pensioners have taken their pensions before reaching 61, as the government has promised international lenders it would move to raise the minimum retirement age to 62.
“In the public sector 7.91 percent of pensioners retire between the ages of 26 and 50, 23.64 percent between 51 and 55, and 43.53 percent between 56 and 61,” Vroutsis told a parliamentary committee.
“In the Social Security Foundation (IKA), 4.44 of pensioners retire between the ages of 26 and 50, 12.83 percent retire between 51 and 55, and 58.61 percent retire between 56 and 61. In the so-called healthy funds, 91.6 percent of people retire before the national age of retirement,” added Vroutsis.
Greece allows early retirements under a bevy of lenient conditions, such as for people with children and who have worked a certain number of years before reaching 62.
Responding to pressing questions by deputies in Parliament, Vroutsis said that the special regulations mentioned above would not be abolished during his tenure.
“We will not force families to reverse the plans they have made,” the minister said, although Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, is moving to end the special provisions.