At the beginning of this year, there was a further
reform of the Croatian pension system. Its aim was to achieve alignment of the
retirement age for men and women faster and to increase the general retirement
age to 67, as previously stipulated in an earlier reform. The retirement age of
67 currently applies from 2033. The reform also includes provisions for early
retirement reductions (0.3% per month, maximum 18%).
Three trade unions launched a petition in
spring under the motto ‘67 is too high’. The aim was to force a referendum to
reverse the pension reform.
They argued that a retirement age of 67 is
too high under Croatian conditions. This is due to the low employment rate of people
aged 55-65. Those who become unemployed at this age have little chance of
finding a new job. In many cases, employees would also be dismissed in favour
of younger people when they reached the age for early retirement. In summary,
the trade unions see the need for labour market policy measures as a priority.
The unions were able to collect almost
twice as many signatures as necessary.
What has happened in the meantime?
Prime Minister Plenković’s government did
not hold a referendum. Instead, the demands of the trade unions were acknowledged,
and a legislative initiative was launched. Two points are to be changed. The
first is to return the retirement age to 65, and the second is to reduce
discounts to 0.2% per month. In addition, labour market laws are to be adapted
to allow a longer working career.
Meanwhile, there has been a public hearing
on the legislative procedure. The final legislation is still pending.